Yellowknife rental units still pricey, despite more vacancy

New condominiums and homes are popping up in Yellowknife like mushrooms, and the city's vacancy rate is the highest it has been in years. Despite that, those looking to rent are still struggling, and paying high prices.

Vacancy rate is highest it has been in years, reaching almost four per cent last year

In Yellowknife, new condominiums and homes are popping up like mushrooms.

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation said since last year, more than 100 new homes and condos were added to the market, which is plumping up what's available for buyers.

Despite the emerging buyer’s market for home sales, the rental market is a different story.

University student John Sexsmith's hunt has been an uphill battle over the last few weeks.

John Sexsmith said he has not been able to find a place to rent in Yellowknife. (CBC)

"Two people said they couldn't rent to me because I was a male, and then other people just never got back," he said.

The vacancy rate in the city is the highest it's been in years, reaching almost four per cent last year.

"We believe that some renters typically bought a new condo or existing home and as they vacated their units, this contributed to an increase in vacancies," said Regine Durand, a market analyst with the CMHC.

Even with the higher vacancy rate, rents are not coming down.

Many people charge about $1,000 for a room.

"You're basically handing over a paycheck to rent a room," said Sexsmith.

Sexsmith has a summer job lined up, but so far he has nowhere to live.

So far this year, the average resale price for homes and condominiums in Yellowknife went up by about $5,000.