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Doctor’s problem solved, Island housing remains issue for professional families

Victoria real estate analyst expects rents to increase 5 to 10%
An aerial view of Central Saanich from the Saanich Inlet. (Black Press Media file photo)

One grateful Oak Bay family hopes to see others find similar success after securing a home.

Alex and Brioney Kilpatrick hoped to stay on in the home they had been renting for 2.5 years, but recently found out they needed to find a new home by June 30.

Alex is in his final year of medical residency and hoped to stay in the home and raise his kids in the community he grew up in. Brioney is a schoolteacher and due in August with the couple’s third child. With education debt looming in the background, homeownership seems a long way off.

RELATED: Housing crunch, province-wide doctor shortage collide in Oak Bay

The couple worried about being able to remain in the community as rents have skyrocketed over the last several years, while a recent Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation report shows the vacancy rate in Victoria back down to one per cent. The family was happily swamped with support and interest in the wake of media coverage as the community offered encouragement and tips on places that might be suitable and affordable. They move in Aug. 1.

“It means paying more and having to put everything in storage for a month, but we’ve got a great new yard for our boys (and their new brother or sister) to play in and our new landlord is helping us with the transition,” the couple told Black Press Media.

“We hope that the other families out there who are facing similar circumstances are equally fortunate in finding accommodation that works for them and that our elected representatives find ways to make housing in Victoria affordable and available for young families and others.”

READ ALSO: Victoria adopts ‘historic’ affordable housing process

They’re not alone, in its fourth annual predictions report, expects rents will continue to rise across Canada this year.

The Rental Market Predictions Report connects the perspectives of 24 experts including Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation economists and analysts, housing data analysts, investors, and rental market specialists.

In Victoria, real estate analyst Leo Spalteholz expects rents will increase between five and 10 per cent this year. While construction of purpose-built rental stock increased substantially in the last five years it came after decades of neglect, he said. CMHC statistics show Victoria had 26,144 purpose-built rental homes in 1991, and 28,206 in 2021, an increase of only 2,723 units while the population grew by about 116,000.

With the average house price spiking to over $1.4 million, “2021 marked the worst deterioration in housing affordability in Victoria’s history,” he said.

READ ALSO: Dramatic imbalance between supply and demand at core of B.C.’s housing problem