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Vacancy rate at 1 per cent

If you are a renter in Kelowna and have difficulty finding a place to live, you’re probably not alone.

New statistics from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) say Kelowna has one of the lowest vacancy rates in the country at just 1.5 per cent.

That is only slightly higher than Edmonton and Calgary who share the lowest rate at 1.4 per cent, and below the Canadian average of 2.7 per cent – which is unchanged from last spring.

These numbers come from CMHC’s bi-annual report conducted twice a year in April and October. It provides vacancy, availability and rent information in centres with populations over 10,000.

According to the report, the results suggest that supply of rental accommodation has not kept up with the demand.

It states that few additions to the stock of purpose-built rental accommodation after 2011 and 2012 was a key factor contributing to lower vacancy rates in 2014.  Rising enrollment at the University of British Columbia Okanagan coupled with the build-out of on-campus housing also contributed to increased demand for private rental accommodation.

CMHC says the total supply of apartment bedroom units in the city also shrank this past year from 4,454 units down to 4,431.

The number of available bachelor units in the city remained untouched at 0.9 per cent and one-bedroom units dropped from 3.5 to 1.5 per cent. But the most noticeable change took part in units with two or more bedrooms – availability for those with two beds dropped from 6 per cent to 0.9 and those with three or more bedrooms dropped from 4.8 per cent to 1.5.

The average rental rate across the board also rose to $964 for a two-bedroom apartment.

On the other side of the spectrum, the highest vacancy rates in the country can be found in Moncton (10.7), Saint John (10), and Charlottetown (8.7).

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