October 9, 2018 7:20 pm
Updated: October 9, 2018 8:58 pm

Vernon home construction boom could ease pressure on local rental market

Watch Above: The north Okanagan is leading the valley when it comes to increasing home prices, housing prices are up 13 percent in the past year. As Megan Turcato reports, construction starts have also taken a big jump.

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The Vernon area has seen a surge in new housing starts in the first nine months of 2018.

The construction boom could take some pressure off of Vernon’s competitive rental market.

Figures released on Tuesday by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) show 324 new housing builds have already begun in the Vernon area this year.

READ MORE: Home sales continue to decline in many parts of the Okanagan

That’s a hundred more units than the Vernon area had started building at this time last year when the Greater Vernon area recorded 224 housing starts.

“What we’ve seen is some strong demand in the past few years particularly from people moving into the area from other provinces, and it has really contributed to not only drawing down the inventory in the resale market that is available to potential buyers but also spurring builders to try to build new inventory to satisfy that demand,” said CHMC analyst Taylor Pardy.

WATCH: Vernon road work not as bad for business as expected


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Vernon’s manager of economic development and tourism said low vacancy rates in the area and rising housing prices make the Vernon area attractive to developers.

Kevin Poole believes the rising rate of new construction will help renters in what’s become another competitive B.C. rental market.

“It is going to provide much needed rental market for the community, with a very low vacancy rate and a lot of people continuing to look to the area for relocation,” Poole said.

The big shift this year is that many more apartment units are being built compared to 2017.

READ MORE: House sales slowing in Central Okanagan

Construction of 110 apartment units has started in the Vernon area this year. That’s compared to 17 at this time last year.

Pardy said the construction of over 100 apartment units in the Vernon area is a response to an increased demand for rental units in the last two years around the Okanagan.

Pardy said that as of October 2017, CMHC measured Vernon’s vacancy rate at just 1.5 per cent.

READ MORE: Second Kelowna neighborhood to blame new development for their flooding problems

However, it will likely take time before the new construction takes some pressure off the housing market.

Poole said larger housing developments typically take more than a year to build.

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