Prince Rupert has one of the highest vacancy rates in the province among communities with a population over 10,000, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) reported on Dec. 12.
As of October, the vacancy rate for apartments in Prince Rupert was the highest in B.C. at 11.1 per cent, down 0.7 per cent from last October and well ahead of the second highest vacancy rate which is 9.9 per cent in Dawson Creek. The vacancy rate dropped slightly despite the fact that the number of apartment units rose from 721 last October to 739 in 2013.
Although the vacancy rate for apartments is the highest in B.C., the vacancy rate for townhouses is amongst the lowest in the province. The vacancy rate for townhouses dropped from 5.2 per cent last October to 1.7 per cent this year.
When apartments and townhouses are combined, Prince Rupert’s vacancy rate sits at 9.8 per cent, the third highest in the province behind Dawson Creek at 10.7 per cent and Summerland at 11.3 per cent. That 9.8 per cent figure is a far cry from the 3.6 per cent vacancy rate reported by CMHC in April, and CMHC market analyst Carol Frketich said the figures likely reflects seasonal situations such as employment.
At the same time as the vacancy rate declined, the average rent in Prince Rupert rose from $618 last October to $653 this October, which is the fourth lowest in the province behind Port Alberni, Powell River and Quesnel. The average rent for townhouses also increased from $657 last October to $715 this October.
In contrast to Prince Rupert, neighbouring Terrace has the lowest vacancy rate in the province. The vacancy rate for apartments is zero, the vacancy rate for townhouses is 1.4 per cent and the overall vacancy rate is 0.4, the lowest in B.C. The overall vacancy rate in B.C. Is 2.5 per cent compared to 2.8 per cent last October.