For the first time in years, Banff’s vacancy rate has hit 1%.
The latest edition of the Alberta Seniors and Housing report on apartment vacancy rates and rental costs indicates that Banff’s vacancy rate increased from 0.6% in 2017 to 1.1% in 2018, an improvement of 0.5%.
The Banff Strategic Plan identified a goal to reach 1% by 2022, through initiatives to provide housing and stimulate private developers to create new housing. In 2018, Banff opened 131 new units in the Ti’nu Apartments.
“After several years of a 0% vacancy rate, it is good to see the availability of rental apartments exceed the 2022 target already, and there is a strong likelihood that we will grow in 2019,” said Banff Mayor Karen Sorensen. “But we have a way to go to achieve a healthy vacancy rate of between 3 and 5%, as identified in the Banff Community Housing Strategy.”
“The increasing rental vacancy rate is promising news, but it doesn’t mean we’ve solved the housing problem. Vacancy is tied to cost, and the cost of housing is the most significant impact on the cost of living in Banff. It will take a sustained effort to address this priority issue, but we are committed to continuing efforts to add housing and improve affordability.”
The provincial report, which used 370 units in Banff to compile data, also indicated the province’s highest reported rental rates for 2-bedroom and 4+bedroom units were in Banff.
Using more recent data for rental rates from February to July 2019, the Job Resource Centre’s fall Bow Valley Labour Market Review showed average Banff rental rates decreased by 12% compared to the same period last year. Rental rates for 3-bedroom units had the largest decrease at 22%.
Upcoming projects for the Town include adding price-restricted, for purchase housing on Banff Avenue, and rental apartments on Cave Avenue.
“With Banff Town Council’s recent direction to pursue its next affordable housing project on Banff Avenue, we are excited to get going, and look forward to being able to respond to the need for entry-level, apartment-style ownership units being added to the mix of housing options in Banff,” said Sharon Oakley, Manager of Housing Sustainability.
For more information about housing in Banff, visit http://banff.ca/housing.