Construction is ongoing in Kelowna where the city hopes an influx of rentals will help the market in the coming years. Here, Jonathan Elbrace works on a building in Rutland. - Image: Carli Berry

2017’s Top Stories: Kelowna’s vacancy rate lowest in Canada

Renters found it increasingly difficult to find a place to live in Kelowna in 2017

In 2017, Kelowna’s rental market nearly dried up completely and at the close of the year, the city had the lowest vacancy rate in the country.

Kelowna has a 0.2 per cent rental vacancy rate according a report from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. In 2016, CMHC reported the vacancy rate to be at 0.6 per cent.

Related: Woman targetted in Kelowna rental scam

Diminishing supply has led to a rise in cost and CMHC reported that Kelowna also had the biggest rent-rate hike in the country.

In September, a report released by PadMapper analyzed hundreds of thousands of rental listings in the 25 largest cities in the country.

In the report, Kelowna moved up the monthly Top 10 for most expensive rental markets, outpacing Ottawa to rank as the sixth most expensive city in Canada with one bedroom rent growing 3.8 percent to average $1,100.

The average vacancy rate for purpose-built rental apartment units across Canadian centres with a population of 10,000 or more decreased from 3.7 per cent in October 2016 to 3.0 per cent in October 2017, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s 2017 Rental Market Survey.

Related: 2017’s Top Stories: PLANKelowna’s Beach Walk

While it’s getting more difficult to be a renter in Kelowna, there could be relief ahead.

Coun. Luke Stack said earlier this year that the city had implemented some policies that were aimed at increasing the city’s rental stock.

“One of the things we have in the works at city council is tax incentives for purpose built rental housing,” Stack said this summer.

“That has been successful and we have approximately 1,500 rentals under construction. I’m optimistic that when those come along it may give us some relief.”

Many renters had problems finding accomodation, especially those with pets.

“(I’ve) got no friends, family, anything here. I’ve got one friend but she lives in an apartment building but she has a cat and it’s no dogs allowed,” said Vance Deakin.

He said trying to find a place in Kelowna that allows dogs has been “frustrating.”

“No one wants to rent with dogs. I don’t know why but they’ll take a cat,” he said.

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