View of Osoyoos Lake looking north from Oroville, WA. Photo courtesy Neil Bousquet/Osoyoos Lake Water Quality Society)

View of Osoyoos Lake looking north from Oroville, WA. Photo courtesy Neil Bousquet/Osoyoos Lake Water Quality Society)

Osoyoos is growing fast

By 2025, an additional 137 residential units are needed to keep up with population growth

The town of Osoyoos just completed their housing needs report, and the town is growing quickly.

Since 2006, the town has grown faster than the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen has, with a growth rate of six per cent compared to four.

The town currently has a population of 5,085 according to the last census information from 2016, and is expected to see that grow by another nine per cent, or 430 people from 2020 to 2025.

Out of the 3,151 private residences in the community, 21 per cent are not occupied year-round according to the 2016 census, leading to 676 homes sitting vacant. That number is more than double the 10 per cent of homes or 236 homes that sat vacant or were inhabited only temporarily in 2006.

According to the report, there were 2,515 households in the community in 2016, growing by 43 each year on average since 2011. By 2025, the report estimates there will be 2,780 households in the community.

READ MORE: Affordable housing projects in Keremeos continue to sit empty

Since 2009, the average house sale price has increased by an average of 49 per cent, and 21 per cent of Osoyoos households spend 30 per cent or more of their before-tax income on shelter costs. The monthly median rent in Osoyoos ranges from $1,000 for a one-bedroom to $1,325 for a three-bedroom residential unit, with a median rent of $1,000 considered affordable for a household with an annual income of $40,000.

The average income in Osoyoos did not see the same growth compared to housing sales, going from $51,700 in 2006 to $53,770 in 2011 to $53,644 in 2016. Half of the population earns from $40,000 to $99,000 annually, with 36 per cent earning less than $40,000.

(Town of Osoyoos)

From 2006 to 2016, the amount of Osoyoos residents who fall under the Core Housing Needs has risen from five per cent to nine, with renters two to three times more likely fall under Core Housing or Extreme Housing Need. Core Housing Need is defined by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation as a household whose housing does not meet the minimum requirements of at least one of adequacy, affordability or suitability, and paying more 30 per cent of income for rent that provide them a more suitable home.

READ MORE: New Oasis of long-term housing in Keremeos

During the peak season for tourism in July 2019, there were a total of 191 units listed on the Airbnb website for Osoyoos.

In Osoyoos there are 157 units subsidized by BC Housing in 2019, 76 of which serve low-income seniors, and the remaining 81 units serving families and other groups.

There are no cooperative housing units or emergency shelters in Osoyoos.

From 2020 to 2025, the estimate is the community will need 137 additional residential units to keep up with population growth, with 82 two-bedroom, 33 one-bedroom and 21 three-or-more bedroom units needed.

That growth is expected to be highest in people 65 and older in the community, which already makes up the largest percentage of the of the population in the town with 43 per cent, while those aged 0 to 54 make up 38 per cent.

In the RDOS as a whole, the 65 and above population makes up 31 per cent, with 0 to 54 making up 50 per cent.

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