The Most Affordable Markets in British Columbia

For many prospective homebuyers, the British Columbia real estate market is considered unaffordable. While some places in the Western province are certainly far more expensive than the typical buyer’s budget, there are many other areas of the breathtaking province that are considered to be affordable.

Yes, the average price of a home in British Columbia is around $965,000. However, this is heavily skewed because of the Metro Vancouver housing market, where the average selling price is north of $1.2 million. Ditto for rent, as the average cost is close to $2,700, fueled by skyrocketing housing costs in Vancouver.

In that case, where are these affordable markets in British Columbia anyway? Well, for one thing, you will need to look beyond Vancouver and explore across the beautiful province filled with gorgeous lakes, plenty of outdoor activities, and proximity to the Pacific Ocean.

Here are the five most affordable housing markets in B.C.:

Kamloops

In the Kamloops real estate market, residential properties are selling for close to $620,000 as of November 2023, according to the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA). As a result, you are saving roughly $345,000.

The city is often called the Tournament Capital of Canada because of the numerous sporting tournaments hosted there every year. Tourism is also a rapidly growing industry in Kamloops, but the major employers in the jurisdiction consist of wood, pulp and paper, transport and mining industries, the Royal Inland Hospital, and the Thompson Rivers University.

Ultimately, Kamloops has plenty of opportunities, from housing to employment.

Sooke

Based on some of the housing data available, Sooke is often listed as the second most affordable city in British Columbia. The average home price in this region is $679,700, representing a savings of nearly $300,000 compared to the provincial average.

Where is this terrific city located?

Sooke is perched on the tip of Vancouver Island. Many consider it to be the hidden jewel of the province. It is a quaint coastal town with stunning seascapes and a relatively slow and laid-back lifestyle. This affordable region boasts natural beauty, rugged shorelines, lush forests, and serenity. Sooke allows those who love nature to form an unspoiled connection to their surroundings without breaking the bank.

Kelowna

Kelowna is the third-largest metropolitan city in British Columbia and the seventh-largest in the province. But it is far cheaper than both Vancouver and the broader province. In November, the average residential property price was just below $753,000. So, homebuyers are looking at savings of at least $200,000.

Meanwhile, the average price per square metre to buy an apartment in the city center of Kelowna is approximately $5,229.

That said, it is located east of Vancouver along the shores of Okanagan Lake. The two biggest employers in Kelowna are the tourism and wine industry. The Okanagan College and the University of British Columbia campus in Kelowna also make this an attractive location, especially for young people.

Campbell River

Got salmon? This area is known to be the salmon capital of the world. It is an attractive spot for people who love water sports, and housing prices here are much more affordable than in the province’s main cities. Fishing is the primary industry here, but there is also significant tourism. Moreover, the area is known as a popular filming location for movies.

Interested? The average residential price was nearly $536,000 toward the end of 2023. Additionally, the average price per square metre to buy an apartment in the city centre of Campbell River is $4,644.

Vernon

Vernon is one of the most consistent places in British Columbia where people can find affordable housing. It is also the commercial hub of North Okanagan. Vernon offers stunning views of Kalamalka and Okanagan lakes and provides residents and visitors with beautiful beaches, campgrounds, and hiking trails.

So, how much is this heavenly landscape?

The average property price in Vernon is $657,000, while the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is a little more than $2,000 per month. Plus, the average price per square metre to buy an apartment in the city center here is $3,767.

Okanagan College also has a campus in Vernon that attracts many young people to this area for post-secondary studies.

British Columbia Versus Canada

Indeed, the data suggest that British Columbia maintains an abundance of affordable options across the province. For the most part, if you avoid cities like Vancouver, Victoria, and Vancouver Island, you will be able to find favourable housing conditions for many homebuyers. The areas listed above provide additional options for people who still want to enjoy this stunning province’s serenity and beauty while saving a few loonies and toonies.

“Despite high mortgage rates and generally weak sales, home prices across the province have been remarkably resilient in 2023,” said BCREA Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson in a statement. “Low inventory has meant that prices hold firm even at the much-reduced levels of sales activity experienced this year.”

As long as more supply comes to the market and mortgage rates go down, affordability could become more prevalent.

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