Post-secondary students caught in housing crunch, heated competition in tight Victoria rental market
With nine days until classes start, students are trickling back onto the UVic campus. And many of them still don’t know where they’ll live.
“Every place I asked they said, oh, we had like hundreds of applicants,” said UVic student Clara Bradley.
“On social media, Facebook, you see a lot of people posting looking for any leads they can find,” said Ben Paquette.
“It’s stressful, I still haven’t found a place but I’m hoping for the best,” said Henry Oluka.
Hoping for the best and hunting around the clock, pouring through online ads and going to showings is about all anyone looking for rental accomondation can do these days, as students are caught in the crunch with other renters while the Capital Region’s rental vacancy rate hovers around 0.6 per cent.
“They’ll show up at an open house and there will be like 40 students there, students and other families mostly in that lower income bracket competing for the same housing,” said UVic Student Society community relations director Maxwell Nicholson.
With more than 20,000 full time students and 2,200 spaces in on-campus residences, which are offered to first-year students first, UVic estimates it has about 10-thousand students who need to find housing in the Capital Region’s rental market.
Between its two campuses, Camosun College has 18,000 students enrolled and no on campus housing at all.
Vice-president of student experiences Joan Yates says that has worked in the past because the college has mainly recruited local students. But with increasing numbers of international students, and more students coming from other parts of Canada, Camosun is considering building housing.
“We’ve looked at this for a couple of years now and looked at what our otions are in relation to residence, but of course as a public entity we can’t borrow money per se so it has to be something we can partner with somebody,” she said.
The UVic Student Society would like the University to add more residence space and is working with administration to lobby the province to loosen those restrictions on public sector borrowing to get it built.
“The university is really on board they see the need for on campus residence,” said Nicholson.