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Why finding a rental in Kingston can be frustrating

Kingston's vacancy rate is 0.6 per cent -- the lowest in the province.

It’s not easy finding an apartment in Kingston.

With a vacancy rate of 0.6 per cent — the lowest in the province — people are having a hard time trying to put a roof over their head.

Brennan Michener, who is currently in apartment-search mode, says he wants to stay but pricing and limited housing may make that impossible.

“I’m not sure if it’s a lack of physical buildings, and I know there’s lots of new ones being built, and hopefully these new ones being built will help lower the rent everywhere else,” Michener says.

Kingston cuts the ribbon on new mixed affordable housing building
Kingston cuts the ribbon on new mixed affordable housing building

A recent report by PadMapper, a location-based apartment rental search engine, ranks Kingston as the 13th most expensive city to rent in Canada.

According to PadMapper’s November 2019 report, the price of one-bedroom units in the city jumped 5.1 per cent, which was the largest monthly rental growth rate in the nation, to a median of $1,230, while two-bedroom units grew two per cent to $1,530.

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“We haven’t put money into large scale affordable housing developments publicly in a generation and the crisis that we’re reaching now is the result of that lack of investment,” says Ian Arthur, the MPP for Kingston and the Islands.

Federal Election 2019: tracking the parties on housing affordability
Federal Election 2019: tracking the parties on housing affordability

Michener says the hunt for a new apartment is frustrating when you combine the cost and low-vacancy rate. He adds that if Kingston landlords are allowed to keep jacking up the rent, there is going to be nothing left for people like him who contribute to the city.