KELOWNA – Kelowna is now listed as the seventh most expensive city in Canada to rent a one-bedroom apartment.
At the end of March, a national apartment rental website listed Kelowna as having the eighth highest median rent price in the country at $1,000. Only Calgary, Ottawa, Barrie, Montreal, Victoria, Toronto and Vancouver’ prices were higher, with Vancouver’s average near double at $1,900.
By the end of April, Kelowna’s price for an average one-bedroom apartment jumped $40 to $1,040, causing the B.C. Interior’s largest city to overtake Calgary. The last time Kelowna moved on the list was in January when the price shifted up $20 securing Kelowna the eighth spot.
The overall rental situation in Kelowna is getting tighter while rent is on the rise.
As of November 2016, the average rent in Kelowna and surrounding areas rose 4.5 per cent to $976, while the vacancy rate sat somewhere between zero and 0.8 per cent, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
The low rate is due to strong population growth, rising youth employment and an increasing demand for student housing, CMHC market analyst Taylor Pardy said in the October 2016 report.
The vacancy rate in the Kelowna-area dropped from 0.7 per cent in October, 2015 to 0.6 per cent the same month last year.
Pardy said more people are moving here when compared to other cities in Canada. Kelowna's population grew by 2,191 people in 2013, but in 2015, it grew by 3,425.
“Net migration at this level has not been seen since prior to 2008,” Pardy said in the report. “As a result, population growth in Kelowna was estimated to be 3.2 per cent in 2015, the strongest in Canada, fueling new household formations.”
Although demand for rental housing grew across the Kelowna-area, Rutland saw the largest jump likely due to “additional pressure on the rental market” from growing enrollment at UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College, he said.
Structures built before 1974 also became more desirable in the last year as renters seek out lower cost options.
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