Campbell River has the lowest rental vacancy rate on Vancouver Island. Photo by Marc Kitteringham - Campbell River Mirror

Finding a home ‘impossible’ in Vernon

One per cent vacancy rate, record high home prices in North Okanagan

A historic low vacancy rate is building greater fears for those struggling to afford a home.

The low rate, according to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation October 2020 data, comes not only during a pandemic but a hot real estate market in the area.

“We have not had a market like that since 2008,” Vernon’s economic development and tourism manager Kevin Poole said.

“For the last five or six years, Vernon has hovered around 1.5-1.6.”

Record high home prices and record-high rents have forced many people out of the market.

“It’s incredibly scary — a one per cent vacancy rate — we’re just going to continue with that backlog,” City of Vernon Coun. Kari Gares said.

A large number of residents are struggling just to find a place to rent, with the average two-bedroom suite costing approximately $1,500 a month.

“It’s pretty much impossible,” Vernon resident Danielle Ducklow said. “I was lucky enough to find a rental but my ex and his mom are having a hard time finding one and could possibly be homeless at the end of the month.”

Others report grown children having to move back home due to a lack of rentals, or renting motel rooms.

Compared to years ago, Vernon actually has a good supply of rental housing, Coun. Brian Quiring said, pointing out Highstreet Ventures and BX Crossing.

But it’s not enough.

READ MORE: Homeless, senior and starter housing builds in Vernon

The challenge is finding large enough parcels of land for rental housing.

“One particular developer has been looking for a few years to find a suitable piece of land,” Poole said.

With more available land outside of the city, Coun. Brian Quiring will be asking the Vernon mayor to write a letter to one particular neighbouring community to make affordable housing initiatives a priority.

“Other communities in the area have stepped up including Armstrong and Lumby and we need our neighbours in Coldstream to do the same,” Quiring said.

Those who are renting but wanting to get into the real estate market are also feeling the pinch as home sale prices have gone through the roof.

Single-family home prices in the North Okanagan are up 11.5 per cent on average, according to the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board. The average home was worth $583,000 in 2020, compared to $523,000 in 2019. And the prices have only increased since then.

Since 1987, when single-family home prices in the region were below $100,000, they have steadily increased over the years, with only slight drops from 2008 to 2013.

The number of sales also saw a huge spike, up 31.1 per cent from $973 million in 2019 to $1.27 billion in 2020.

The volume of single-family homes also rose 19.2 per cent for an average value of $671 million in 2020 from $505 million in 2019.

“I think it’s going to be a very long time before vacancy rates are going to be in excess of four per cent,” Quiring said

READ MORE: Triple O’s, storage and more builds coming to Vernon


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.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

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.

The District of Sicamous is trying to take over management of the Sicamous and District Recreation Centre . (File Photo)
District of Sicamous seeks management contract for hockey arena

The arena has been managed by a non-profit society since it was built in the early 1980s.

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Chase RCMP arrest intoxicated man running into highway traffic

The man was wanted on several warrents in Alberta; was held overnight but released

Butter and sourdough bread is shown at a house in Vernon, B.C. on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. A Quebec dairy farmers’ group is calling on milk producers to stop feeding palm oil or its derivatives to livestock as controversy churns over how these supplements affect the consistency of butter. (THE CANADIAN PRESS - Jesse Johnston)
Poll: Care to spread your feelings on butter?

Reports of hard butter have rattled the Canadian dairy industry

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

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

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)

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

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.

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Approximate location of the vehicle incident. (Google Maps)
Vehicle incident blocking Coquihalla traffic in both directions

Both directions of traffic stopped due to vehicle incident

Most Read