Finding a place to rent has never been harder in Kelowna.
According to a Canada Mortgage and Housing report, the overall vacancy rate in Kelowna is .2 percent. It’s the third year in a row the rate has been below one percent.
CMHC says the main reason the Kelowna housing market is so tight is more people are moving to the city.
“Particularly the Prairie provinces, we’ve seen a lot more in-migration into Kelowna. So that’s put pressure not only on the rental side of the market but on housing in general,” said CMHC analyst Taylor Pardy.
Laura Starck and her boyfriend Ian Grannary moved from Vancouver last year, thinking finding a place in Kelowna wouldn’t be a problem. But it took a year to find a rental home and they had to sweeten the offer to the landlord.
“We added an extra $100 a month on top of what they were asking for,” Grannary said.
They pay $1,500 a month for a carriage house above a garage.
And a lack of rental spaces keeps driving up prices.
According to CMHC, the average rent in Kelowna is a little more than $1,000 a month. A bachelor suite goes for a little under $860. A one bedroom apartment costs nearly $940, two bedrooms will set you back a little more than $1100 and be prepared to shelve out at least $1,200 for three bedrooms or more.
The City of Kelowna says it’s doing its part in easing some of the rental pain. It’s offering developers tax incentives and grants to encourage building rental units and says the results should begin to show in the next year or two.
“There are a number of units that will be brought to market in 2018 and we have another 1,000 units that are going through the application and permitting process this year,” city planner Terry Barton said.
“So in 2019 and 2020 there should be another 1,000 units added to our rental inventory for a total of 2,000 units.”
CMHC says once all those rental units are built, Kelowna’s vacancy rate should climb to 2.5 per cent.