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Kelowna renters struggling with low vacancy rate, high housing costs

Rental housing is in short supply in Kelowna.
April 27, 2016 - 6:30 PM

KELOWNA - The city’s razor thin rental vacancy rate continues on well below one per cent with 30 per cent of households facing unaffordable housing costs.

Kelowna’s vancancy rate is 0.7 per cent for the primary rental market, compared to the provincial average of 1.3 per cent, and has been decreasing steadily since 2012, city councillor’s heard from planner Laura Bentley this week.

Don’t bother looking for three or more bedrooms, Bentley reported, they have a vacancy rate of zero and the number of new rental units to come on the market hasn’t increased much at all during the same time period.

Average monthly rent in Kelowna for all unit types is $890, well below the provincial average of $1,042, and has remained so for the last two years.

Bentley had that sobering news for councillors who might have thought they had come off a good year approving the construction of more than 300 units in 2015. Unfortunatetly, the effect of those units on the rental pool won’t be felt until next year, she added.

For the first time, information on the rental condominium market from Canada Mortgage and Housing is available and shows a vacancy rate of 2.1 per cent 

Bentley said 25 per cent of the 12,730 units in the Kelowna metro area are rented out and represent a significant segment of the rental pool.

In the residential sales market, Bentley said 3,727 homes changed hands in 2015, up 17 per cent from 2014. 

The median overall home sale price in Kelowna increased 2.8 per cent to $388,500 last year, a relatively small increase which reflects the greater market share for strata and row house units, she added.

Coun. Gail Given said the report shows continued need for council to encourage housing development in all segments with the various incentives it already offers.

To contact a reporter for this story, email John McDonald 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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