We recently learned that Kingston now has the lowest rental vacancy rate in the entire province. The graph above is from the 2017 Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) report and shows that the vacancy rate in Kingston is just 0.7%, which is now lower than anywhere in the Greater Toronto area. This compares to last year when the vacancy rate was a much healthier 2.6%.
This new data shows the urgency for more housing in Kingston, whether it be new homes, condos or apartments. Without new housing, prices for homes and condos and rental rates for apartments will continue to rise quickly and it will be more difficult to find a place to live in the city. Multiple offers and sales above listing price are becoming increasingly common in the Kingston housing market and there are no signs that the pressure is going to let up. New residential developments in all parts of the city are needed if we are going to keep Kingston as an affordable place to live, work and play for everyone.
The city did get some good news this week when the Ontario Municipal Board approved the new University Suites development at the corner of University and Princess Streets. This development was actually approved several years ago, but has been stuck in the OMB appeal process until this week. The photo below shows what this project will look like when completed.
If the city is going to avoid further suburban sprawl, we will have to make quick progress with new infill developments across all areas of the city. I strongly believe that we can effectively address the current housing situation in Kingston by being smart, proactive and making housing across our city a priority as we move into 2018.