Challenges of Affordability in Oak Bay

Housing Options and Affordability have been attracting many opinions in Oak Bay recently. The Local Governance Act in BC mandates that municipalities must include a provision for providing affordable housing in community plans. Affordability is defined in Oak Bay’s OCP as a percentage (30%) of family income. What is not clear is how Oak Bay can achieve affordability based on average regional income and high value real estate.

Last September the CRD Hospitals and Housing Committee introduced a report (McClanaghan & Associates) on entry level ownership in the CRD. The 109-page report provides detailed housing statistics for all CRD municipalities, and concluded that “land values, market dynamics and income demographics within the region would confine development opportunities to a very small number of municipalities/electoral areas – Esquimalt, Saanich, Colwood and Langford.” In other words, subsidies would have to be provided by the municipalities, developers or Government to make up the gap between income and housing costs. Based on 2016 Census and market data, the McClanaghan & Associate report is the most current data available for all members of the CRD, including Oak Bay.  It covers all types and values of housing types available, and although the report is specifically related to entry level housing, the information is well presented with comparison charts on everything from rental housing to owned housing, and apartments to single family residences. It is a great reference document to gauge what forms of housing could be viable for Oak Bay.  If you are interested in reading the report you can find it on the CRD website at


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