Peterborough apartment hunters struggle with lack of housing availability

Click to play video: 'Apartment shortage in Peterborough reaches crisis point with one percent vacancy rate' Apartment shortage in Peterborough reaches crisis point with one percent vacancy rate
Apartment hunters in Peterborough are having trouble finding rentals with a one per cent vacancy it has reached a crisis point. – May 8, 2018

If you’re apartment hunting in Peterborough these days you know the struggle is real.

With a one per cent vacancy rate, its reached a crisis point in terms of available housing.

A major factor is the cost of an average home is just not affordable for first-time buyers, says the city’s manager of housing Rebecca Morgan Quin. That fact, coupled with a historically low inventory of available homes, is having a trickle-down effect and making it difficult to find single apartments.

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“Our market used to be that it was almost less expensive carrying-cost wise to buy (a home) instead of renting,” said Morgan Quin. “And now we’re seeing that the homeownership market is that much more expensive, so people can’t move out of renting and into home ownership. And that means all the units that might open up as a result of somebody moving out of renting, aren’t opening up and it slows the whole market down.”

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Corey Dawes is feeling the pinch. The 28-year-old says he’s been struggling to find either a one bedroom or bachelor apartment in the city and has been forced to move back home with his parent while he searches for a place to call home. But he says that’s been as hard as finding a needle in a hay-stack.

“I’m constantly looking around and asking people about a place but I can’t find anything,” said Dawes. “It’s very frustrating, it’s extremely frustrating.”

Hours are spent scouring Kijiji and Craigslist, on top of phone calls and viewings. Dawes says it’s quite competitive, and all the bidding has sent the costs through the roof.

“I don’t want to give up trying or anything like that but at the end of the day I am still living at home with my mom and dad, who I love but I still want to be on my own and do my own thing.”

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Dawes isn’t alone in his desperation for a place to call home.

Local musician Bryar Gray also works a full-time job and has been looking for an affordable one bedroom apartment for more than a month. He says options are limited and most are just too expensive.

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“I’m always on Kijiji and constantly refreshing and looking at ads, because if you don’t reply to them immediately, like right away you don’t get a showing,” said Gray. “And if you do get a showing, they are showing it to like 50 different people and if you have a job and are responsible it doesn’t really matter.”

The city is looking at changing its bylaws around secondary suites and apartments in houses located outside the downtown core to make it easier for homeowners to open up an apartment in their home.

“We know that those units can significantly help both the affordability for the homeowner because they have an income stream coming in but it also opens up new market opportunities that wouldn’t have existed otherwise,” said Morgan Quin.

The report on secondary suites will come to council later this month where it’s expected that council will fully support the bylaw changes to help ease the housing crisis.

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