City vacancy rate eases
It continues to get easier to find an available apartment in the Tournament Capital.
After feeling the squeeze in the housing rental market in Kamloops for much of the last decade, the vacancy rate has eased.
According to new figures from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the apartment-vacancy rate in the city during October increased to 2.9 per cent, up from 2.6 per cent the previous year.
But, just three short years ago, finding a place to rent was a far more daunting task as the vacancy rate plunged to just 0.4 per cent.
The vacancy rate in Kamloops is slightly higher than the provincial average, which sits at 2.4 per cent.
Though it may be easier to find a place to live in Kamloops, it isn’t any cheaper.
The average rent for an apartment in the Tournament Capital rose slightly to $747, up from $742 the previous year.
It still costs more to live on the south side of the Thompson River.
The average apartment in South Kamloops rents for $793, while in North Kamloops, the rate is $695.
Tangie Genshorek, co-ordinator of the Kamloops Homelessness Action Plan (KHAP) suggested the rental rates are still too high for many people in the city.
The KHAP has calculated a $705 monthly-rental rate to be affordable for people earning the median income in Kamloops.
Genshorek said it means half the community can’t afford the average rent in the city and, for people on income assistance who get a shelter rate of $375, they won’t get into decent housing.
As for the vacancy rate, she said the rise in the rate might not always be good.
Genshorek said when there is more rental housing available, property owners start to consider turning units into condos and stratas for purchase.
“That’s been a common occurrence when vacancies go up,” she said.
Genshorek noted the KHAP is working with developers in Kamloops to make the industry aware of incentives in an effort to get more rental units built.
Interestingly, Kamloops remains one of the more expensive places to rent in the province among cities of similar size.
Chilliwack, Nanaimo, Prince George and Vernon all have average cheaper rental rates at $647, $720, $678 and $703 a month respectively.
However, Kelowna is more expensive, with the average monthly rent sitting at $840.
It will be no surprise Vancouver is the most expensive place to rent in B.C., with the average apartment fetching $1,027 a month.