Cost of renting in Kelowna has doubled in just five years | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Cost of renting in Kelowna has doubled in just five years

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
February 19, 2021 - 1:02 PM

While the rate of inflation in Canada has stayed in the two per cent range for the last few years, the cost of rents has doubled.

A report going to Kelowna City Council on Monday says that the average market rental rate in 2015 was roughly $900 a month. That climbed to $1,255 by the fall of 2020.

But, if a renter wants to move into a brand new two bedroom rental unit, landlords are “asking upwards of $1,800 per month,” the report states.

“The high rental rates illustrate the need for subsidized (affordable) rentals for those in Kelowna who are not able to afford market rental housing rates,” the report states.

Those numbers are similar to the online rental site PadMapper’s findings. It looked at 338 listings in Kelowna this month and found the average two bedroom suite was listed for $1,753 per month, down 2.6 per cent from January. For comparison, the average two-bedroom in Kamloops is listed on PadMapper at an average of $1,664 per month for February, 2021. Padmapper doesn't provide the same analysis of Penticton or Vernon rentals. 

In order to encourage more rentals, the City of Kelowna gives breaks to builders of new rental units. In the past those grants could be applied for by developers of market rental units.

Rules were changed last year so that only those buildings that are deemed affordable can apply.

The city budgeted $300,000 for the program this year. It’s structured so the developer pays less in development cost charges.

The report recommends that the Society of Hope get that $300,000 this year for a project at 2175 Benvoulin Road.

The building must remain as a rental for 10 years.

While the Society of Hope will be saving $300,000 if it gets the grant, it will still have to pay $2.7 million in development fees to the city.

Three developers have told the city they plan to apply for similar grants in 2022.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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