Last year, Kelowna experienced an unsettling surge in its rental rates, vaulting the city up to fourth place as one of the most expensive cities to rent in Canada. According to a report by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, two-bedroom units now average around $2,300 per month due to the inadequate supply of available rentals.
The vacancy rate for Kelowna remains at 1.2%, slightly higher than it was recorded in 2021. Other areas across the Okanagan are similarly affected with Vernon clinging at 0.7% and Penticton just 1.1%. All three cities’ rates remain unchanged since 2021.
To combat this issue, over 3,000 new homes began construction last year in Kelowna—most notably condos and rental units—and more developments are expected throughout the coming years as a way to make rental costs more attainable for the citizens of Kelowna. The Society of Hope and BC Housing are playing vital roles working directly with the city on this endeavor and actively finding solutions that will provide more affordable housing options in 2021 and beyond.
With these measures taken into consideration, it is hoped that Kelowna can once again become a city where renting is accessible regardless of income or social status—which is a dream shared by many hopeful residents who cannot currently afford rising rental prices. In order for this vision to be realized, government involvement must be bolstered with initiatives like rent control that would create stability within an otherwise turbulent market; something which could benefit those who have been dealing with skyrocketing costs for years now.
It’s not all bad news though; increased availability of low cost housing would go some way towards fixing current issues between landlords and tenants as well as providing much needed security for those struggling financially due to COVID-19 lockdowns or unexpected job losses. Taking action now could ultimately lead to peace of mind for those who are worried about their ability to stay in their home should rent prices continue going up at their current rate.
Kelowna’s ever increasing rental rates may appear daunting but there are still steps being taken and opportunities arising which can hopefully alleviate some of the pressure felt by citizens currently living there or wishing to move back in future years. It may take some time yet before we see positive changes but these proactive steps taken now will hopefully start bringing greater stability soon enough so that everyone has access to safe and affordable housing options regardless of monetary means going forward.