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RDEK Board Chair concerned high housing costs may drive people away from the region

Housing prices across every community in the East Kootenay have climbed upwards, but BC Assessment anticipates a slight drop in the year ahead.

According to BC Assessment, Fernie had the highest average home price by a large margin, coming at $838,000.

The rural Invermere had the second highest, with an average assessed value of $651,000.

Regional District of East Kootenay Board Chair Rob Gay said the numbers were quite shocking.

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“I think for many years, we thought this was an affordable area, but now for Cranbrook and the rural area we’re at the $500,000 or $600,000 range,” said Gay. “One of our objectives as a region is to have young people remain in our area, but when housing is so expensive and you can’t really find any good paying jobs, you can’t afford to stay, and that’s unfortunate.”

Gay said the rising property values may be good for those who already own property, but those seeking to buy a home are left with a daunting task.

He notes that this challenge has a broader impact than just those looking to own a home in the East Kootenay.

“You see it going up, that’s good for your property value, but for people trying to get into the market and trying to get a mortgage, it’s really hard to get new entries into the market,” said Gay. “That’s concerning because we depend on people relocating to the East Kootenays to provide us with more doctors and workers for various reasons for everyone facing that labour crunch. When that market is so high, it’s really detrimental for us, businesses and non-profits as well.”

The average home costs in East Kootenay communities highlighted in BC Assessments presentation from highest to lowest are as follows:

  • Fernie – $838,000
  • Invermere rural – $651,000
  • Invermere – $589,000
  • Golden – $553,000
  • Cranbrook rural – $545,000
  • Golden rural – $535,000
  • Fernie rural – $493,000
  • Kimberley – $472,000
  • Kimberley rural – $466,000
  • Radium Hot Springs – $454,000
  • Cranbrook – $446,000
  • Sparwood – $415,000
  • Elkford – $344,000
  • Canal Flats – $285,000

Gay said there are a few things the RDEK can do to help, by allowing secondary suites, tiny homes and subdividing to allow more housing.

“I think the developers are being creative to provide the market with what people want, and we’re seeing smaller and multi-family dwellings go up,” said Gay.

The RDEK Board Chair noted that a higher-than-average property assessment does not necessarily mean taxes will go up by that same amount.

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