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Kelowna apartment rents the most expensive ever

How high can it go?

Monthly rent for a typical one-bedroom apartment in Kelowna hit another record high in January, creeping ever closer to $2,000.

One-bed cost was pegged at $1,980 a month by Zumper, the online platform that lists apartments for rent and compiles the monthly Canadian Rent Report.

"Kelowna ranks as the 5th most expensive rental market in the nation last month with the prices of one and two bedrooms settling at medians of (a record-high) $1,980 and $2,250, respectively," said Zumper marketing manager Crystal Chen.

</who>Crystal Chen is the marketing manager at Zumper, the online platform that lists apartments for rent and compiles the monthly Canada Rent Report.

One-bed rent has bounced around over the past few months, setting a record in October at $1,960 before slipping a bit to $1,950 in November, $1,920 in December and then back up to a new record high of $1,980 last month.

The new peak of $1,980 is up 3% from December and a 16% jolt from what it was a year ago.

If it manages to hit or break the $2,000 mark it will be a milestone, especially considering how rapidly rents are increasing that it was only a few years ago that one-bed rent in Kelowna broke the $1,000-a-month barrier.

</who>The median monthly rent for a typical one-bedroom apartment was a record-high $1,980 in January and $2,250 for a two-bedroom.

Whether or not you're looking for an apartment or living in one, rents are a closely watched economic indicator.

It seems counterintuitive that the benchmark selling prices of houses, townhouses and condominiums in Kelowna are dropping amid higher mortgage interest rates, inflation and shaken consumer confidence, yet apartment rents continue to climb.

One school of thought is that even though home prices are slipping, it's still unaffordable for many in Kelowna to buy, so they have to rent.

The city also tends to have a shortage of apartments, so there's stiff demand for any units that come on the market, thus pushing rents up.

However, with rents high there are still many people who have to opt to continue to live at home with parents, share with roommates or settle for a studio or basement suite when they'd prefer a bigger or better place.

There's also a built-in market for apartments in Kelowna with a healthy population of college and university students and people moving here for jobs or to retire who will rent before they make a decision about buying.

</who>Kelowna has a lot of apartment buildings, but not enough because the vacancy rate is very low.

Zumper's ranking for two-bedroom rents also puts Kelowna as the fifth most expensive at $2,250 a month.

However, that $2,250 is not a record high.

In fact, it's down 1% from the $2,270 it was in December and $180 less than the record-setting $2,430 in August 2022.

The four cities with pricier rents than Kelowna are, with one-and-two-bedroom costs in brackets: Vancouver ($2,500 and $3,500), Toronto ($2,300 and $2,950), Burnaby ($2,290 and $3,110) and Victoria ($2,080 and $2,610).

Kelowna rents are almost twice as much as they are in Canada's three cheapest cities -- Regina ($1,000 and $1,290), Saskatoon ($1,020 and $1,250) and Edmonton ($1,020 and $1,200).

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