Squamish rental vacancy rate lowest in B.C., says new report

Zero apartment vacancy means many people are having a difficult time finding a home

What many residents of Squamish already know has been confirmed by a new report: Rentals are scarce in the District of Squamish.

In fact, Squamish has the lowest apartment vacancy rate in the province at zero per cent, according to October figures in this year’s Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Rental Market Report.

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Fort St. John had the highest vacancy rate at 31 per cent, up drastically from 12 per cent from October of 2015. 

The report, released Monday, also showed that Squamish apartments have the lowest turnover rate in the province, at only 8.5 per cent.  

Overall, townhouses are less available in Squamish than they were last year with a three per cent vacancy rate in October compared to seven per cent in 2015. 

The numbers that follow reflect an average on units that have been rented for several years, as well as ones that were put on the market more recently – and don’t necessarily reflect the prices of what is currently advertised, which usually rent for higher. 

Average townhouse rents have gone up slightly overall at $1,230 last month, compared to an average total of $1,122 this time last year. 

The lowest rents in the province were Summerland at about $694 for a townhouse. The highest was in Vancouver at an average of $1,677.

 Though not readily available, rents of apartments have gone down slightly in the last year. In 2015, privately rented apartments went for about $946, and were down to about $930 in October, the report showed. 

Quesnel had the lowest average apartment rents in B.C. at $632. Vancouver had the highest apartment rents in October at an average of $1,223. 

“It is a good thing we are building a lot of apartments,” said Mayor Patricia Heintzman about news of the report’s findings. 

Heintzman said the vacancy rates can change very quickly in Squamish due to the lack of stock so a new apartment building could “take care of the vacancy rate pretty quickly.” 

Several new apartment projects are in the works in the district, she said. 

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