It’s getting harder to find an affordable place to rent in Kelowna and surrounding communities, according to a new Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) housing assessment.
According to the report, the average rental rate has increased by 37 per cent for both one-bedroom and two-bedroom units and by 26 per cent for three bedroom units.
Comparatively, the median household income has only increased by 20 per cent between 2010 and 2015.
That means that the average monthly rental in the region is now $1,135.
“This represents a substantial increase since 2010, when average rental prices for all units was $829. In 2018, the average rent in the Rutland area was $1,082, compared to $1,147 in the core area.”
Breaking those numbers down, it now costs on average $890 a month to rent a bachelor suite, $1,003 per month for a one-bedroom unit, $1,251 for a two-bedroom unit and $1,358 for a three-bedroom unit.
According to the report, the vacancy rate has also dropped significantly over the past four years to 1.4 per cent, making it even harder to find a place.
“Typically, the rental market experiences pressure when vacancy rates are less than one per cent, and over-supply when vacancy rates are greater than three per cent,” said the report.
“In the Rutland area, rental vacancy rates are significantly lower at 0.8%, indicating the rental market in this area is more stressed and has limited vacancies.”
The decline in the vacancy rate has hurt families most, particularly for families looking for two-and three-bedroom homes
According to the assessment, the vacancy rate for a two-bedroom unit dropped to 0.9, while the vacancy rate for three-bedroom units is now 1.4 per cent.
As for the quality of housing, the assessment found Central Okanagan West has the poorest housing conditions for renters. Six per cent of homes in the neighbourhood require significant repairs, according to the assessment.
To try an alleviate some of these problems, in 2017 the federal government announced Canada’s first ever National Housing Strategy, a 10-year, $40 billion plan to build more housing across the country.
The national strategy aims to reduce chronic homelessness by 50 per cent, lift as many as 530,000 households out of housing need, add up to 100,000 new housing units and repair or renew 300,000 housing units.