Housing crunch continues in Terrace

Latest stats from federal agency show rental vacancy rates at below 1 per cent

Just-released survey results from a federal housing agency continue to confirm what local residents have been sharing anecdotally for some time – Terrace is still one of the toughest places in the province in which to find a rental.

A report released June 11 by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) shows that Terrace has the second lowest vacancy rate in the province among communities with a population over 10,000.

As of April this year, Terrace’s overall vacancy rate – which includes both apartments and townhouse-style houses – sits at 0.7 per cent, a drop of over three percentage points from last year’s 3.9 per cent, with 544 units. Only Squamish has a lower vacancy rate – they’re sitting at 0.3 per cent with 351 units.

The vacancy rate for apartments in Terrace was 0.8 per cent. That’s slightly up from the zero per cent vacancy rate noted by the CMHC last October, and down from the 4.1 per cent apartment vacancy rate in April of last year. And again, second lowest in the province and just above Squamish with its 0.3 apartment vacancy rate.

The number of apartments in Terrace has increased by three since April 2013 – 396 this year compared to 393 last year. According to the report, all three of those new units were two-bedrooms.

The CMHC rental market survey data for Terrace doesn’t include secondary rentals, such as basement suites, houses, or rooms rented by owners who also live in the house. Only purpose built rentals which have been on the market for three months or more are included in the survey.

CMHC also reports that average rent in Terrace has gone up, from $686 last April to $716 this April – those figures are an average of the price of apartment and townhouse units ranging from bachelor to over three-bedrooms. The highest average rent in the province is in Vancouver at $1,101, followed by Fort St. John at $998 and Dawson Creek at $994. Quesnel has the lowest average rent in the province at an average of $601.

The vacancy rate for the entire province declined, from 3.5 per cent last April to 2.5 per cent this April. That’s close to the 2.4 per cent overall provincial vacancy rate reported by CMHC for October 2013.

The vacancy rate is the percentage of all available units in a rental property that are vacant or unoccupied at a particular time. CMHC conducts the rental market survey every year in April and October, collecting data via phone interview and site visits with owners, managers and/or building superintendents.