Vacancy rates have increased in North Battleford, and at least one rental property company has noticed a trend of people leaving the region for other opportunities.
According to a recent report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, vacancy rates for three or more bedroom apartments jumped up drastically in the city, from zero per cent in 2015 up to 12.6 per cent in 2016, higher than the rest of the province.
This hike is a concerning number, according to Ramona Maraj with Macro Properties, which operates roughly 250 apartment units in North Battleford.
“It is very concerning given Saskatchewan’s economic climate at this time,” Maraj said. “However, we are used to normal fluctuations in North Battleford throughout the year, based on people coming in or leaving for work, college attendance, or people buying houses.”
While Macro Properties recorded some numbers of renters changing over to homebuyers, Maraj said that number is very low, and people moving away from the area seems to be a concern the city is facing.
“The uncertainty in the market can slow down the housing market while boosting the rental market. However, we have not seen a robust increase in the rental market as it’s highly likely people are moving to other areas or other provinces for work,” she said. “Based on information received during move-outs from our portfolio it appears that this is the trend… hopefully short lived.”
Overall through North Battleford, vacancies rates went up three per cent, from 7.6 in 2015 to 10.6 in 2016, while the provincial average was 9.4 per cent, up from 6.8.
Maraj said that despite these reported increases, vacancy seems to be at a good point in the city considering the economy, and rates will fluctuate based on the time year, something to keep in mind.
“In June and July our vacancy was a bit higher than usual, but that seems the norm over the past few years during the same period. Currently, we have a steady number of good applications and we are at six per cent vacancy for December, a very reasonable per cent given how the past 11 months have gone,” Maraj said.
Estevan, Lloydminster and Weyburn topped the list for highest vacancy rates in Saskatchewan, all sitting at over 20 per cent.
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