Province touts new 'affordable' rental units in Kelowna

'Affordable' rental units?

A new Kelowna apartment building that was financed by the provincial government welcomed residents this month. But while the province touts the new units as "affordable," the rental prices aren't much different from the city's average prices. 

The six-story, rental-only apartment building at 726 Clement Avenue was built by PC Urban Properties, through financing from HousingHub, a BC Housing program created in 2018 to create “new affordable rental housing and home-ownership options for middle-income British Columbians.”

The new 80-unit rental building is the first of two apartment buildings in the area, with the second 77-unit building set for completion by December.

"Providing a variety of options across the housing spectrum is essential to meeting the needs of all Kelowna residents," said Mayor Colin Basran in a press release. "As more of the population relies on rental housing, purpose-built rental housing in Kelowna will only become more important so residents have access to attainable and affordable housing."

The province says the apartments are for “middle-income families and individuals” whose annual household incomes are between $52,000 and $71,000. Prices for one-bedroom apartments are $1,300 month and two-bedrooms are $1,780 month.

A Padmapper report released last month showed the average one-bedroom apartment rental in Kelowna goes for $1,480 per month, while the average two-bedroom is $1,760.

"This has been a really unique and successful partnership with the province and with the City of Kelowna to build safe, high-quality, attainable housing for middle-income earners," said Brent Sawchyn, CEO of PC Urban Properties, the project's developer.

"We are proud to have delivered this multi-use project ahead of schedule and we are excited to welcome people in. Leasing the apartments has exceeded expectations, which is testament to the need for this type of housing in Kelowna."

The province says the project's 157-units are part of the nearly 1,300 “affordable homes” the province is working in partnerships to build in Kelowna and West Kelowna.

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