LETHBRIDGE: A new report by a national housing company shows vacancy rates are up for rental housing in Lethbridge, but a local advocate says the picture isn't quite as rosy as the group paints it.
The data, released Tuesday by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), shows total apartment vacancy rates were up more than two per cent in October of this year - 6.8 per cent in 2011 compared to 4.1 per cent in 2010. But Stan Mills, vice chair of the Lethbridge Social Housing in Action committee says the report counts homes still under construction and seniors units - which may have skewed actual vacancy numbers to look higher than reality.
He also addressed a second part of the study, which showed rental rates in Lethbridge have actually climbed compared to last year. Mills said that information is a definite concern for residents seeking affordable housing.
"When the rental rates are quite dramatically high, they may be spending more than 30 per cent of their income on rent," he said. "That takes away from the important things that they need for education, food, living and so forth."
The CMHC report shows the average rental rate for a private apartment in Lethbridge rose to $824 in October 2011, up from $792 in 2010.