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Vacancy rates down in Fort St. John and Dawson Creek

After vacancy rates in Dawson Creek rose last year to come closer to Fort St. John's, both have now plummeted to come close to the provincial average. That's according to the most recent survey by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation on vacancy rates in the province.

Since last April, Fort St. John's vacancy rate has dropped from 10.2 per cent to just 2.8 per cent. That's a 86 per cent drop in just two years, from the 21.6 per cent availability in 2010. Dawson Creek also dropped significantly, from 9.5 per cent to 3.2 per cent, which is close to where it was in 2010 at 3.9 per cent.

Overall, the province-wide vacancy rate also dropped, from 3.7 per cent to 3.4 per cent. The report claims this is due to an increase in employment, population growth and affordability of rental housing. In the north, that's because of stabilized demand for exports of key resources, and improved employment conditions in areas with resource-based economies.

Rent in both northern cities also increased, from an average of $813 a month to $864 in Fort St. John and $799 to $860 a month in Dawson Creek. The biggest increases came from 3 bedroom apartments in Dawson Creek, which jumped 7.6 per cent from $1,048 to $1,191 a month. Comparably, an apartment of the same size in Fort St. John is still under the $1,000 mark, at an average of $966 a month.

Bachelor and 2 bedroom apartments also rose in Fort St. John, by 5.2 and 5.4 per cent respectively. It now costs an average of $630 to rent a bachelor apartment in the Energetic City, up from $603 last year. Rents between the two cities are now very similar across the board, with almost identical costs for bachelor, and 1 bedroom apartments. Two bedroom apartments are still cheaper in Fort St. John, at $955 a month, compared to $1,007 in the Mile 0 City.

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