Addressing Kingston’s Low Vacancy Rate

According to last week’s CMHC report, the rental vacancy rate in Kingston has fallen to 1.2%. That’s the second lowest vacancy rate in the province. In fact, in Canada as a whole, the rental vacancy rate is at it lowest point in more than 20 years. Here in Kingston we can see first hand the effects of the surging demand for housing with steep increases in market rent. Last year, the average rent for a two bedroom apartment rose by 5%. The CMHC report found that our rental vacancy rate would’ve been even lower had we not been able to add more than 400 new rental units. In other words, the only way we can improve our vacancy rate is by ensuring enough new rental supply to meet demand. So how do we do that? We need a steady supply of new housing construction like this project here at the corner of Princess and Sydenham in the west end. We also need more purpose built rental housing for seniors and students, and an expanded number of secondary suites across the community. As a city, we’re working to make it easier for home owners to add rental units to their homes which increases the rental supply. In the next few weeks, I’ll be sitting down with mayors from our neighboring municipalities from Napanee to Gananque to talk about ways that we can expand the supply of rental housing in our region. With strategies like this, we can help create new rental supply which is critical to help curb further increases in rent.

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