EDITORIAL: Rental boom good for home hunters

The West Shore offers a variety of affordable housing options

The rental boom reverberating across the West Shore is good news for people caught in the squeeze of vanishing vacancy rates across the Capital Region.

While the West Shore is pushing to create well-paying jobs that attract the best and the brightest, having to purchase a home as the only option while prices are sky high would tend to discourage some from making the move.

It’s fortunate then that in a market where rentals in Victoria hover around one per cent, Langford is leading the charge to fill that gap on the West Shore.

One developer who recently completed a couple of apartment buildings said he has another 300 units in the planning stage for the downtown core, adding “we literally can’t build them fast enough.” There are also 147 units about to be built on Hoylake Avenue, plus another 80 at the corner of Hockley Avenue and Peatt Road. The demographic for people looking for rentals runs the gamut of retirees in the process of downsizing, young professionals, families starting out and the newly divorced.

Eagle Creek Village in View Royal has 60 new rentals and there are a couple of other projects in the works, including 42 apartments at the old fire hall site on Old Island Highway and another 37 on Watkiss Way. The development finally underway again at Colwood Corners has close to 300 rental units planned.

One of the factors driving the scarcity of rentals outside the West Shore is the current state of real estate. While people selling their homes circa 2008 may have been swayed to consider renting them until the market improved, that’s no longer the case. The white hot market posting record gains in Vancouver, especially during the past two years, is fanning across the water from the mainland, heating up house prices on the South Island as well.

With owning a home for many becoming more of a dream than a longterm plan in today’s market, renting is the only option for a growing number of people. Fortunately, it would seem for the time being that the West Shore has answered the call, especially for young families looking for recreation, entertainment, shopping and other amenities within easy reach.

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