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Renters in Kamloops being priced out of market thanks to high price of Vancouver real estate

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August 04, 2016 - 3:07 PM

KAMLOOPS - The hot real estate market in Metro Vancouver may be driving hopeful homebuyers to the Southern Interior and that could negatively impact the rental market in cities like Kamloops.

Affordability issues aren't exclusive to Vancouver and have already led to a spike in rental prices in Kamloops, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan says.

"What we discovered when we looked through the data, is the (Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation) says people should spend about 30 per cent of their income on housing," Horgan says. "Some people are spending upwards of 50 per cent."

The latest data from the Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation in October 2015 shows the Kamloops vacancy rate is 2.3 per cent.

Taylor Pardy with CMHC says one year ago the vacancy rate in the city was at 3.9 per cent. 

"Two-point-three per cent is still okay. Anything less than one per cent is considered a little tighter," Pardy says. "But the situation could have changed since (October)."

Pardy says there has been stronger migration to the Thompson-Nicola over the last couple of years.

The strong migration is contributing to young couples being priced out of the rental market, Horgan says.

"It’s not just a problem in Vancouver. It’s a problem in communities like Kamloops," Horgan says. "Couples with pets are the vast majority of renters and they are not able to find a place that will take them."

Horgan says it's important for the provincial government to focus not only homeless people but mainstream renters who are being priced out of more rural communities.

Pardy says people moving to Kamloops from the Lower Mainland are renting instead of buying at first to test out the area — which tightens the market more.

"You will see rents increase if there is a significant increase in demand. Lots of people choose to rent before home ownership which affects the rental market," Pardy says.

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