With rising house costs and recent changes to the B.C. mortgage stress test, getting approved for a mortgage has become even more difficult. Many have decided that buying a home is out of the question and are content to rent for now. As a result, there has been a drastic increase in the demand for rental properties throughout British Columbia.

This is especially true for the OMREB region, which spans from Peachland to Revelstoke. OMREB encompasses the Central Okanagan, North Okanagan, and Shuswap areas.

According to the Canadian Rental Housing Index (CRHI), those living in the Central Okanagan – Peachland to Lake Country – pay an average rent of $1,184, including utilities per month. In the North Okanagan – Vernon to Grindrod – the average rent people pay is $973 including utilities and finally, in the Shuswap and Revelstoke people pay an average of $927 including utilities.

OMREB Region


Average rent per month

(including utilities)

Central Okanagan (Peachland to Lake Country)


North Okanagan (Vernon to Grindrod)


Shuswap/Revelstoke (Sorrento to Revelstoke)



While this is telling of where it is more expensive to rent on average within the OMREB region, it’s imperative to take vacancy rates into account. Perhaps there is a cheaper area, but zero rentals available.

For example, Kelowna is within the more expensive Central Okanagan district, but there has been plenty of innovative new apartment buildings and other construction projects being developed over the last few years. In 2018, Kelowna saw 499 new primary market rentals pop up. This can be seen across the province as well.

With consistent rental housing developments being built throughout B.C., 2018 saw a bit of an uplift in vacancy rates throughout the province. According to a CMHC rental market report, British Columbia had a 1.3% vacancy rate in 2017 and it increased to 1.4% in 2018. 

This means that there were more homes vacant throughout the province in 2018 than in 2017. Evidence that the increased supply in rental housing from new developments are being filled and supply is just barely surpassing the rental housing demand in 2018. While 1.4% is an improvement in available rentals in recent years, it’s still low.  

There is plenty of work to do. As demand continues to rise from interprovincial and international migration and the population aged 20-34 and 65+ (demographics of the most likely to rent) keeps growing, get ready to see even more rental housing developments being built.

If buying a home in the future is on your mind, be sure to find a rental that will allow you to continue saving for a down payment. Vacancy rates are low throughout the province, so stay up-to-date on current developments and keep your eyes peeled for more available rental housing – you could even stumble upon a rare rental incentive program.


#Okanagan #Industry News


November 21st, 2018 • 5 min read
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