Fort St. John only behind Vancouver in average cost of rent, says CMHC report

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — A report released today from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation outlines where each part of the province ranks in vacancy rates, costs of rent, and other factors of the BC housing market for October 2015.

According to that report, Fort St. John is the city with the second-highest average rent for apartments in B.C. — following Vancouver.

Between October 2014 and 2015, the typical cost of rent here — with numbers averaged from bachelor, one bedroom, two bedroom, and three bedroom or more suites — jumped from $980 to $1,031 monthly. Rent in Vancouver went from $1,099 to $1,144 over the course of a year.

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Fort St. John saw another big jump from a 2.5 per cent vacancy rate, to 12.1 per cent this year, and trails only a few percentage points behind the highest vacancy rate in all of B.C. — just across the Peace River.

Dawson Creek has the highest apartment vacancy rate in all of B.C., at 14.6 per cent; compared to the lowest-ranking city, Squamish — with a 0.3 per cent rate– Dawson Creek’s rate was 5.3 per cent last year.

While there may be a number of reasons the vacancy rate is so high, CMHA points to the economy of the oil patch effecting housing in Northern B.C.

“In these areas, the impacts of low oil prices and related energy sector slowdowns may have had a greater impact on employment. As well, additional rental supply in several of these centres could also account for the rise in apartment vacancy rates.”

As a whole, it appears B.C.’s vacancy rate, on average, was down to 1.2 per cent this year from 1.5 per cent last year. The report also states that vacancy rates in the province’s four largest centres, Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Victoria and Kelowna, (CMAs), declined to less than one per cent ‘as rental demand outpaced supply. ‘

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