Relief is on its way for Kamloops renters - InfoNews

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Relief is on its way for Kamloops renters

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
March 01, 2018 - 2:00 PM

KAMLOOPS – The City of Kamloops is hoping some new initiatives will help create more affordable housing and raise the vacancy rate to relieve some stress on a tight rental market. 

Jen Casorso, social and community development supervisor, says it will take the community as a whole to help achieve the goal of affordable housing for all, but to get more affordable housing, the city is trying to find ways to increase the types of housing available.

“The biggest thing is ensuring a supply that provides choice for people,” says Casorso. “Having more supply may help to stabilize rental prices.”

New construction and new market rentals are expected are a helpful and hopeful sign. An uptick in new projects is a sign of more interest from developers in building more purpose-built rentals.

The housing projects that are now coming in, have a significant capital grant from B.C. Housing, according to David Freeman, real estate manager for the City of Kamloops. The provincial government, in its latest budget, said it is committing $6 billion to help build more than 100,000 affordable homes over the next 10 years.

The Spirit Square affordable housing project, announced on Feb. 21, has significant funding for construction provided by B.C. Housing, according to Freeman. In the past, the provincial government would provide a smaller amount of money for these projects and that would force the rents and mortgages to cover operating and excess building costs, Freeman says.

Casorso says that Kamloops has a low vacancy rate of 1.1 per cent (4 per cent is generally considered a healthy number). She says there is just not enough supply of various housing types to provide residents with enough choices. In time, with the increase of supply, there could be a shift in the market which will make things more affordable.

The City is making an Affordable Housing Strategy to help guide housing investments and activities over the next five years, according to a press release on Feb. 27.

Please check out the website, Kamloops Let's Talk, for full information on when the community discussions will happen.

— This story was updated at 4:03 p.m.Thursday, March 1, 2018 to correct information regarding developers making money of these projects.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kelly Mckay or call 250-819-3723 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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