Few options for empty nesters in Pitt

Survey finds housing issues and warns about preserving affordable housing

Finding an affordable  home is the biggest issue for people looking to rent or own in the City of Pitt Meadows.

From singles to seniors, a recent survey conducted to assess the city’s housing stock found a large percentage of city residents spend between 30 and 50 per cent of their income on housing costs.

Based on the median household income in Pitt Meadows, the average affordable rental accommodation is $922 per month, while an average affordable mortgage is $1,840 per month.

The survey conducted by CitySpaces Consulting found 42 per cent of renters in Pitt Meadows earn less than $30,000 per year (compared to 52 per cent of home owners in Pitt Meadows earn more than $70,000 annually) making affordability a key issue when it comes to finding a place for living in the city.

“Pre-retirement” and “empty nesters” are the fastest growing demographic in Pitt Meadows. But there is a significant lack of housing for them, as well as seniors who live on their own.

The largest age group in Pitt Meadows is between the ages of 40 and 64, and is growing.

The number of seniors between the ages of 65 to 84 is also expected to grow significantly.

Pitt Meadows plans to use the data from the housing survey to guide development and policy to encourage a more diverse community. Staff will now craft a housing action plan to suggest how the city can address its housing issues.

“For future developers, I think it’s a useful tool, as well. What does the community need? What is the market pushing for?” said Mayor Deb Walters.

She noted there is little choice in housing for empty nesters.

“We don’t have a lot of stock to accommodate them in the future, unless they move into apartments,” she added.

With more than 43 per cent of Pitt Meadows households with children, the city of 17,736 residents is still a predominately family-oriented community.

This means a significant number of residents are looking for homes close to schools, and homes large enough for kids, and affordable to balance their family budget.

Houses for families, however, are not hard to find, with single detached houses accounting for 46 per cent of the housing mix in the city.

Over 32 per cent (or 2,285 residents) are single, either living alone or sharing with others.

Besides choice, the city also has little room to grow.

Walters noted the only large undeveloped piece of land in its urban area is the city-owned parcel on Airport Way that was just sold to Onni.

The survey also urged the city to protect its low-incoming housing.

By 2015, 64 low-income family co-operative housing units will expire in Pitt Meadows.

By 2020, there will be an additional 250 low-income family cooperative housing units expiring.