November 29, 2016 8:01 pm
Updated: November 29, 2016 9:16 pm

Kelowna rental vacancy rate lower than Vancouver’s

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If you are having trouble finding a place to rent in Kelowna, you’re not alone.

New numbers from an annual fall survey by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) show the city’s rental vacancy rate is among the lowest in the country, even lower than Vancouver’s.

This fall, Kelowna’s rental vacancy rate is sitting at 0.6 per cent. Only Victoria and the Abbostford-Mission area have lower vacancy rates. Vancouver’s vacancy rate is 0.7 per cent.

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Saskatoon had the highest rate in the country at 10.3 per cent. Edmonton and Calgary were also in the top five with vacancy rates of 7.1 per cent and 7.0 per cent, respectively.

Read More: Kelowna is now one of the top 10 most expensive rental markets in Canada

UBCO student Jeremy Levee has experienced the rental crunch first hand.

“It is very hard to find a place to rent in Kelowna,” said Levee.

“I got lucky. I found an ad that was posted five minutes ago and I called up. I was the first one to go and see if and I had to sign that day.”

CMHC points to a couple of factors that are keeping the Kelowna vacancy rate low. A report suggests higher prices for purchasing existing properties may be keeping some in the rental market longer; more people are moving to Kelowna and there is more demand for student housing.

Read More: Kelowna’s housing market still growing

Kelowna city councillor Mohini Singh said the city recognizes the low vacancy rate is a problem.

“This has been a problem for a very long time for our city,” said Singh.

She said the city is taking action by allowing secondary suites in most of Kelowna and, “we’ve got about 800 to 900 units we have approved. These units are all in stream and [it] will be a year so before we actually see them up and complete.”

The CMHC numbers are for what it calls the primary rental market. That includes apartment complexes with three or more units that were built specifically to be used as rentals. It doesn’t include other types of rentals such as basement suites or homes that are being rented out.

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