250 News - Your News, Your Views, Now

October 27, 2017 8:17 pm

The North’s Changing Housing Needs

Thursday, November 17, 2016 @ 5:58 AM

Prince George, B.C.- Delegates from a broad spectrum  of the housing sector will be converging  on  UNBC later today  in advance of the Northern B.C. Housing Conference.

The conference  is themed “Housing Solutions for Changing Communities”, and  will  see policy makers,  developers, planners,  realtors lenders and non-profit  organizations  get the details on the  recent  housing issues  identified  in  the  Northern B.C. Housing study.

While the details of the study won’t be  released until tomorrow morning,  Community Development Institute Co-Director Marleen Morris  says  the 10  Northern communities  they examined  are  changing “The study  identified a number  of factors that are going to impact our opportunities and challenges in the coming years.”   She says one of the main factors is the changing demographic in the North  “We are seeing a situation where  we are seeing a rapidly  aging population in Northern British Columbia and that’s combined  with the fact that as those people retire and move out of the work force, we will also be attracting new younger aged families into the region.  So that’s one factor that is clearly  going to impact the housing opportunities and needs in the future.”

Another factor  is the age of  housing  stock in the north.  Most homes in northern  communities were built  prior to 1980  “In many cases they aren’t as energy efficient  as they could be,  they aren’t well suited for the people  who live those homes anymore as  the residents are , generally,  older  and they are not well suited for the needs of  young families.  So the condition  of our housing stock speaks to the opportunity  for  renovation and reconstruction in a lot of  our communities.”

She  is  optimistic the  participation  of a  broad range of people  involved in  housing  taking part in the conference  will  result in action  “We have people at the table  who can take these issues, look at them  from a variety of  perspectives and start developing  solutions  through collaboration and partnerships for moving forward.”

There has been much  talk of a resource development  boom,  and while  many  of the  proposed projects ( such as the  construction of the Site C dam) involve the development of work camps,  but  Morris says  that won’t have much  impact on the housing needs of a community  as the  work camps  are  usually  established  for a transitory  construction stage.  She maintains the major impact will be the  retirement of those already in  a community’s work force and that means  new workers will be looking to move  into the area “One of the first things they ( new workers) look for, is housing in the community they move to.  If we don’t have the  housing stock available in those communities,  we will lose the opportunity  to  capitalize on  that new economic activity and lose  the opportunity to attract and retain those new workers.”

While the  conference gets down to  business tomorrow morning,  there is a  public  lecture this evening at UNBC   at  7 pm  in  room 6-205 ( near the Canfor Theatre)   when  Dr. Greg Halseth,  will present  “Legacies and Possibilites: How Community and Economic Change are Shaping the Housing Landscape”.


We need to have information as to how many young people already live in Prince George, and who will move into their parents houses or buy older houses, or rent. We cannot just assume that when people retire their jobs will be filled by people moving into the area.

As an example we have many retired people moving into apartments, condo’s, of retirement homes. What happens to their houses. Who moves into them.

Why would the older homes in Prince George not meet the needs of younger families???

I just bought a new house from a young family. There were 8 wall mounted televisions ! It was a big reno tearing it all out. I think this generation is way different than ours. My parents would have freaked if i demanded a tv in my bedroom and my private bathroom! The old houses just don’t have the things to spoil kids rotten. The renovations cost a fortune as well

The next generation of homeowners expects those 4 bathrooms, granite countertops and stainless appliances in their 4000 sq foot, half million dollar home. Their first home is expected to be nicer than anything their parents ever owned. Of course they’ll have to have a mortgage helper/cellar dweller in the basement.
Cheap rates have badly distorted the idea of what a home should be. The worm is starting to turn, and all those boomers best cash out of their big empty lovely homes. The homes many have banked all their retirements on. The number of retirees with a mortgage is greater than its ever been. Ditto for household debt. We are hitting a debt wall, and rising rates, albeit slowly rising, are coming to wake up a generation that knows nothing but cheap easy credit.
Contrary to what Scotiabank has been telling you, you’re not as rich as you think.

The only “Need” in Housing is “You got to have Money to buy one”.

“Another factor  is the age of  housing  stock in the north.  Most homes in northern  communities were built  prior to 1980  “In many cases they aren’t as energy efficient  as they could be,”

Yes but when compared to the size of homes being built today even if the new homes are efficient the older ones because of smaller size still may be cheaper to heat. Besides the older homes generally get upgraded over time.

Developers seem to be ignoring the older increasing demographic who want one main floor with everything needed on that floor, no laundry in the basement, not multifloor towers.

I live in a condo with everything needed on one floor with green space outside and every week my mail box has notes placed asking if I am interested in selling. Not just your usual realtor cards.

    Well , no wonder you’re so jealous . I understand now . You have my sympathy.

“age of housing stock in the north”

wow …. most built no more than 50 years ago. Look at any large city with single family houses and we have housing stocks that can easily be as old as 100 years. Because of their location in relation to the downtown of the city, they have retained their value, despite the condition of the house. It is not uncommon to have housing stock from the 1920s built of brick with two storeys + an attic loft with upgrading to modernize it for say a $500,000 budget.

We have yet to see such transformations here. It is more common to tear down and rebuild. In the Winnipeg-Vancouver we can see some of both in recent years. Nice to see. Could be some better designs though.

The aging population to-day is not much different than it was 5 years ago.

I suspect there is a huge difference in the number of people age 65 and over, and the number of people 65 and over who are retiring from work. In other words not everyone over the age of 65 is, or has been in the work force.

It would be nice to see how many workers are actually retiring in the next five years. Probably no more than in the last five years, and perhaps less.

I think that the huge retirement numbers in the greater Prince George Area, have already taken place, and future retirements wont have a significant impact on anything.

Lose the opportunity to attract and retain those new workers.

I think most young families would be happy to move into any kind of a house. Sounds like a lot of hype over nothing.

    I agree.

Why don’t you all attend and provide your feedback rather than paste it on a comment board? That’s why these forums are held…

    I would love to have attended to hear Greg Halseth’s presentation. Problem is I have a conflicting meeting at 6pm.

    Not everyone is able attend all things.

    So I will simply wait till tomorrow morning for the release of the details of the study.

    In the meantime, I suggest those who are interested at least look at the demographic profile of PG and compare them to other cities of similar size in other parts of the province and even Canada.

    We still have an average younger population than many other cities our size.

They can read Opinion 250 like everyone else. I am getting a small taste in the back of my mouth that tells me there is an election on the way.

We bought a veterans home built after world war II. It had a foil type insulation. I did all the work but the gyprock. A great project but we saved a ton o money. Not all the homes built in PG in the 80’s are poorly constructed. Those built in the 70’s are a different story.

In fact there were not many homes built in PG during the 80’s. When the crunch came in 1981 and mortgage rates sky rocked to more then 20%. Just look at Pine Cone Sub it has a mixture of 80’s style homes with those built later in the 90’s

I think this conference is for those that have to much time on their hands and need to impress us with their knowledge.

Comments for this article are closed.