Rental housing market tightens up in city

The search for affordable housing is becoming more challenging.

Vernon’s rental vacancy rate dropped from 7.7 per cent in April 2013 to 4.1 per cent last month, while the average rent for a two-bedroom unit has gone from $785 to $794.

“Affordability is problematic and especially for families,” said Annette Sharkey, with the Social Planning Council.

“The average rent does not reflect what’s going on in the market and people are paying higher rent.”

There appears to be a few factors leading to the decrease in vacancy opportunities.

“If you look at the employment numbers, they are up a bit so there is an increase in (housing) demand,” said Paul Fabri, an analyst with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

“And there has been no new supply in the market.”

With fewer rental units available, there is a concern that could impact the bottom line for house-hunters.

“As the numbers crunch up, the price (for rent) may go up,” said Juliette Cunningham, a Vernon city councillor.

The city is currently working with private sector developers and social agencies to try and meet the public demand.

One possibility could be to reduce the fees the city charges developers if they construct affordable housing.

“We’re also working on an affordable housing policy,” said Cunningham.

According to CMHC, B.C.’s apartment vacancy rate declined to 2.4 per cent


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