According to Housing BC it means being able to afford a suitable home for a reasonable price.
Lenders usually say that a house that can be purchased by spending 30% of your household income would be considered affordable. But that doesn't tell us the full picture. If you are single, a senior, or one parent household or if you are Indigenous the picture is a lot different from the household who has two bread-winners and gobs of money. Yes it is a complicated issue. So how do we decide what is affordable for us. Developers motivated by profit usually dictate what is available. They continue to build traditional three bedroom homes with garages on the front and patios out back. The friendly front porch and back lane where the garage was located is all but gone. Is this really what we want? Has our so called need for privacy and autonomy morphed into communities where you don't meet your neighbours on a regular basis unless you first get into a car. Have you noticed that there seem to be less and less sidewalks in front of houses? But I digress.
If I had my way I would want about six hundred square feet of private space and would even consider less if there was some place that I could entertain and interact with more people if I wanted. So the idea of a cohousing community appeals to me because I would have my six hundred square feet and with the addition of a beautiful common house and the amenities it could provide I would be well satisfy. I would also like to know my neighbours and hope that they would be a staple bunch who liked each other and like to celebrate together. I would hope that they would look out for each other too and become friends. Again I digress.
But would it be affordable? Because we would share as much as possible, the work involved to maintain the property, strata fees would be lower. If we were able to buy in bulk that would help lower expenses. Sharing some food costs for communal meals would likely be economical. We might consider sharing cars which would lower the cost of maintaining our private cars. If we lived within shouting distance of each other maybe babysitting would be easy to trade. A shared garden could lower food costs no more wasted produce because there is often just too much to eat when the garden is producing. A smaller foot print on the land would just be more economical no matter how we looked at it. In the design process we would consider positioning our homes to capture the heat and light that would be the most advantageous to our climate.
So as you can see there could be advantages to cohousing that would affect the affordability of our homes over the long term. The decisions would be ours, not those dictated by a developer motivated by profit. There is a lot to consider. I have only touched on a few advantages but there are many more. Currently $200 to $300 dollars a square foot will get you a nice home in Invermere. Think of the advantages of buying bulk homes. Can you think of a builder that wouldn't want to be involved in a development where 2/3's of the homes are pre sold. Join us to explore if the advantages can outweigh the fears of living in an intentional community. We want to become the model for how a motivated group can create a steller, affordable, environmentally friendly community despite the challenges we might encounter.