Kelowna has lowest rental vacancy rate in Canada

The only people benefitting from Kelowna’s tight rental market are landlords.

As costs surge and availability plummets, it’s increasingly clear that Kelowna renters are in a pinch.

Kelowna has a 0.2 per cent rental vacancy rate, which is the lowest in the country, according a report from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation released Tuesday. This time last year CMHC reported the vacancy rate to be at 0.6 per cent.

Diminishing supply has led to a rise in cost and CMHC reported that Kelowna also had the biggest rent-rate hike in the country, with the costs increasing by 8.6 per cent. According to the site PadMapper, the cost of one and two bedroom units is sitting at medians of $1,130 and $1,590, respectively.

While it’s getting more difficult to be a renter in Kelowna, there is 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.”

While conditions are tight in Kelowna, it’s not alone.

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.


This reverses the increases observed in 2015 and 2016 and leaves the vacancy rate at its 10-year average. This national decline reflects a recovery in rental demand in Canada’s oil-producing provinces.

The Rental Market Survey provides data and analysis for both the primary and purpose-built rental market as well as the secondary rental market covering condominium apartments. Tailor-made reports are available for Canada, the provinces, Yellowknife and major centres.

“Nationally, increased demand for purpose-built rental apartment units outpaced growth in supply, leading to a decline in the vacancy rate and a reversal of the trend we’ve seen over the last two years,” said Gustavo Durango, senior market analyst at CMHC.

“Demand for purpose-built rental apartments can be attributed to historically high levels of positive net international migration, improving employment conditions for younger households and the ongoing aging of the population.”

Abbotsford Mission has the same purpose-built rental vacancy rate as Kelowna, Victoria is next with 0.6 per cent and Vancouver has 0.9 per cent.

The next largest rent increases were in Victoria, which saw increases of 8.1 per cent and Vancouver, where costs rose by 6.2 per cent.

The CMHC numbers are for what it calls the primary rental market. That includes apartment complexes with three or more units that were built specifically to be used as rentals. It doesn’t include other types of rentals such as basement suites or homes that are being rented out.

To report a typo, email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

It’s beetle season in Lake Country

Boxelder beetles are coming out from the warmth of the tree roots

Accident reported at Hwy 97C exit

Police was searching a nearby field but left after 30 minutes

UBCO civil engineer touts cohousing option

Gord Lovegrove says cohousing is sustainable social and economic lifestyle

Get rid of the kids for spring break

Check out the Okanagan Heritage Museum and Kelowna Art Gallery

Truck destroyed by fire in West Kelowna

A fire destroyed a truck at Wheel’s Truck Parts Friday

Kelowna alleged car thief caught on camera

A video caught an alleged thief trying to break into a vehicle on Kirschner Mountain

BCHL Today: Wenatchee Wild goaltenders a cause for concern

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Rockets down Giants in first of home-and-home set

Kelowna wins 5-2 in second last game of the WHL’s regular season

Canadian survivors, supporters rally against proposed ’60s Scoop settlement

Some have accused the government of underestimating the number of survivors

Nordic athlete Arendz to be Canada’s flagbearer at Paralympic closing ceremony

The biathlete and cross-country skier from Hartsville has raced to five medals in Pyeongchang

Salmon Arm community cheers on Natalie Wilkie as she wins first gold medal

Local skier tops the podium in 7.5km race at the PyeongChang Paralympics

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Experts: Society has a role in trying to prevent domestic violence

Experts are speaking out following the murder of a woman and her son in Ontario

Northern lights chasers in Canada discover new type named ‘Steve’

Phenomenon linked to a powerful current created by charged particles in Earth’s upper atmosphere

Most Read