Housing, taxes and income: Affordability really depends on where you live in the Okanagan - InfoNews

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Housing, taxes and income: Affordability really depends on where you live in the Okanagan

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December 13, 2019 - 3:13 PM

There are some big differences when it comes to house prices, earnings and income taxes amongst the Okanagan’s four largest communities.

Figures released during city council budget discussions in Penticton this week reveal a wide range of costs for housing and taxes in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Vernon and Penticton with an equally variable range of median incomes for each city.

Vernon is the cheapest city to buy a house in the Okanagan at just under $500,000 for the average home, which is quite a bit less than the more than $700,000 for an average home in Kelowna.

When it comes to earnings, you’ll likely make more money in West Kelowna than anywhere else in the valley.

In Penticton, you'll pay the least in property taxes but when it comes to tax affordability, as a percentage of income, you’re best off in West Kelowna.

Average house prices in the Okanagan breakdown as follows:

  • Penticton $500,707
  • Vernon $498,523
  • Kelowna $704,929
  • West Kelowna $677,019

When it comes to paying property taxes, West Kelowna residents get dinged the most with an average property tax in 2019 of $5,244.

You’d pay around $1,000 less for a residence in Penticton, as these property tax figures show:

  • Penticton $4,126
  • Vernon$4,202
  • West Kelowna $4,496
  • Kelowna $5,244

From an affordability standpoint, however, you’re more likely to be able to afford to pay for that house and those property taxes if you live in West Kelowna, where the average household income in 2015 was $83,942. It might be more of a struggle to pay your bills in Penticton, where the average household income in 2015 was $54,219.

The four cities breakdown as follows for median household income:

  • Penticton $54,219
  • Vernon $59,353
  • Kelowna $68,627
  • West Kelowna $83,942

That low income in Penticton makes it a problem to take advantage of that City’s lower tax rate because it costs 7.61 per cent of a resident’s income to pay the year’s property taxes. That’s more than a full percentage point over what residents in West Kelowna — who make the big bucks — pay at 6.25 per cent.

The income percentage of 2019 taxes for all four cities is:

  • Penticton 7.61
  • Vernon 7.08
  • West Kelowna 6.55
  • Kelowna 6.25

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to tips@infonews.ca and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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