An artist’s rendering of a pair of six-floor purpose-built rental apartment buildings currently under construction on Penticton’s Kinney Avenue.                                (Photo: City of Penticton)

An artist’s rendering of a pair of six-floor purpose-built rental apartment buildings currently under construction on Penticton’s Kinney Avenue. (Photo: City of Penticton)

Penticton vacancy dips below one per cent

That drop in vacancy comes even as the city added over 100 rental units with one development alone

Despite the completion of a major rental project on Duncan Avenue this year, Penticton has seen a decline in the city’s rental vacancy rate, according to an annual national report on the rental market.

The Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation’s yearly Rental Market Report was released Tuesday, and it shows a narrow vacancy for much of the province, including Penticton.

In fact, while B.C.’s 1.3-per-cent vacancy rate remained flat from last year, Penticton’s rental vacancy dipped from 1.1 per cent last year to 0.9 per cent this year. In fact, Penticton’s rate falls below the rates of most major cities in B.C., with just Kelowna, Abbotsford, Victoria and Campbell River.

Related: Data shows growing amount of income spent on housing

Kelowna and Abbotsford each had a narrow 0.2-per-cent vacancy rate, marking the lowest in Canada.

But the quality of the data for Penticton, too, has significantly decreased — the 2016 vacancy rate was rated at a level ‘a’ for reliability, which the CMHC called “excellent.” But this year’s data was rated at a level ‘d’ for reliability, or “fair (use with caution).”

Development services director Anthony Haddad said the city has been trying to tackle the issue through approvals of at least two housing projects that would add density to the downtown area.

Related: Kelowna has lowest rental vacancy rate in Canada

“We’ve got approximately 100 new affordable housing units, non-market units, that are in the downtown,” Haddad said. “We’re certainly putting all our efforts in, trying to improve the amount of rental stock in the community ,and more affordable rental stock, as well.”

One of those, Haddad said, has already begun construction on Backstreet Boulevard, while construction at the city lot at Brunswick Avenue is expected to get underway early next year.

But that 0.2-percentage-point drop in Penticton’s vacancy rate came even as the city added over 100 units to the rental stock through a major rental apartment building on Duncan Avenue seeing completion this year.

“That was 100-per-cent rented out very shortly after it was opened,” Haddad said. “Over the past couple of years we’ve been trying to get ahead of the game with a lot of the approvals that have been put in place.”

Related: The people of Carmi hill

On top of the affordable housing projects on Backstreet and Brunswick Avenue, Haddad said the city is expecting another 100-plus-unit project to come online on Kinney Avenue, a similar project to the Duncan Avenue spot.

But Haddad said he feels that project could fill up as quickly as the development on Duncan Avenue.

He added the city’s concentration is more on the affordable rentals, and is looking at expanding the city’s capacity for carriage houses, basement suites and more.

Related: Motel fire highlights Penticton’s housing crisis

“There’s been a lot done, and we’ve got to continue down that path to make sure we improve the supply of the more affordable housing rental stock within the city,” he added.

The issue was mentioned briefly in budget talks, as Haddad presented on economic development. Coun. Helena Konanz pointed to concerns with the vacancy rate, and questioned Haddad on the city’s initiatives to attract more rental units.

“One of the benefits of the integration into development services is their relationship with economic development and our planning department, who are looking out into the future,” Haddad told council.

“Right now, we’ve got our development cost charge reduction bylaw that has 100-per-cent reduction in development cost charges for purpose-built rental housing.”

Related: Rental housing argument wins over Penticton council

On top of that, with current economic incentive bylaws approaching expiry, the city is looking at economic incentive zones to encourage rental developments in desired spots in town.

According to the report, the average price has gone up in the city, from $800 a month last year to $838 this year, a 5.7-per-cent increase. That included average increases of about $40-50 for bachelor suites up to two bedrooms, compared to an increase of $120 for the average three-plus-bedroom suite.

The average one-bedroom suite now goes for just under $780 a month, according to the CMHC report.

In total, Penticton has 2,079 rentals, meaning just around 19 rentals are available in the city.

Related: City must ‘atone’ for its part in housing crisis: city planner


@dustinrgodfrey

dustin.godfrey@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wills Hodgkinson, 10, and his mom Neeley Brimer get ready to battle round three of cancer. The community of Penticton has his back. (Submitted)
Community raises $21K to help Penticton boy battle third round of cancer

Okanoggin Barbers held the fundraiser on Saturday for 10-year-old Wills Hodgkinson

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
UPDATE: 70-year-old man killed in workplace accident at Baldy Mountain

The mountain closed on Saturday but has partially re-opened today (Sunday)

Send your letter to the editor via email to news@summerlandreview.com. Please included your first and last name, address, and phone number.
LETTER: Summerland affordable housing proposal opposed

“For a building that will change the dynamic of a small town, I would have expected more discussion.”

Baldy Mountain Resort is temporarily closed following the death of a resort family member. Pictured above is a sunrise at the resort, Feb. 19, 2021. (Baldy Mountain Resort/Facebook)
Baldy Mountain ski hill closed following death of resort family member

Authorities currently investigating, resort set to reopen Sunday, Feb. 27

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

(Contributed)
Kelowna flight potentially exposed to COVID-19

Third case on a local flight this month, compared to 14 through January

Vernon Search and Rescue, with help from the Air Rescue One helicopter out of Wildcat Helicopters in Kelowna, and Central Okanagan Search and Rescue, were able to transport an injured snowmobiler to Vernon Regional Airport, where he was loaded into an ambulance and taken to Vernon Jubilee Hospital with a serious, painful back injury. (Facebook photo)
Okanagan helicopter rescue teams called to retrieve injured sledder at Greystokes

Vernon and Central Okanagan Search and Rescue help load injured man into waiting helicopter

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

Chase RCMP held two men involved in drunken disturbances overnight in their detachment’s cells on Feb. 6. (File Photo)
Chase RCMP hold two men involved in drunken disturbances overnight

The two separate incidents took place less than an hour apart.

Kamloops Fire Rescue battled a landfill fire which belched toxic smoke into the air on Feb. 27. (City of Kamloops Photo)
Fire at Kamloops landfill sends thick black smoke into the air

Firefighters made slow progress on the fire throughout the morning.

Most Read