Average rent prices have gone down in Prince Rupert over the past year, a recent study by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) says.
The CMHC surveyed tenants in 28 different B.C. cities with populations over 10,000 to document changes in rent, vacancy rates, apartment availability and other trends between October 2017 and 2018.
Over that period, the average rent in a townhouse or private apartment dropped from $866 to $850 in Prince Rupert. This decrease bucked the trend in the Northern B.C. as renters in Terrace and Prince George all experienced increases over the same period.
The decrease was caused by the large number of two-bedroom apartments in Prince Rupert that charged less overall for rent in 2018 than in 2017. There are currently 400 two-bedroom apartments in Prince Rupert, compared to 59 bachelor apartments, 286 one-bedroom apartments and 183 three-bedroom apartments.
Judy Park, a property manager in Prince Rupert with Tinker Realty, said a lot of those two bedroom properties usually have long term tenants living in them with lower rents that have remained steady over time.
“We’ve got long term tenants, especially when the oil and gas happened a few years ago, where we had very few people moving because if they moved they knew they would have to pay a lot more rent than what they were paying,” Park said. “So for us, we haven’t had a lot of turnover because people having been staying where they are.”
Rent prices in two-bedroom apartments decreased from $919 to $876 from Oct. 2017 to Oct. 2018. Renters paid $843 in Oct. 2018 for a one-bedroom apartment or townhouse suite, which is $34 increase over what similar living quarters cost in the same month last year. Bachelor and three-bedroom apartments also rose from $622 to $636 and from $887 to $894 respectively.
Vacancy rates also decreased over the past year in Prince Rupert for one-bedroom apartments (3.6 per cent to 2.1 per cent) and three-bedroom apartments (3.4 percent to 3 percent) indicating that living space is still becoming less available (vacancy rates for bachelor suites were unavailable in the report). However, two-bedroom apartments bucked the trend once more, this time increasing (3.8 per cent to 5.7 per cent).
The average rent in Prince Rupert increased by $132 in 2017. At the end of 2018’s first quarter, house values increase by 5.9 percent from 2017 in Prince Rupert.