Vacancy rental rates in October climbed in Vancouver Island’s two largest markets compared to a year earlier, but so did the monthly cost. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) October rental market report, the vacancy rate in Victoria went up four points to 1.1 per cent and climbed by a half per cent in Nanaimo to 2.4 per cent year-over-year. The report, which gave data on private row and apartment vacancy rates, found the average two-bedroom rent cost $1,403 in Victoria, a jump of 7.4 per cent from October of last year. In Nanaimo, a two-bedroom townhouse or apartment rental is up 7. 1 per cent to $1,085. The CMHC October survey Greater Victoria’s 682 new units of primary market rentals among the highest in the province. While rental vacancy has climbed in the Island’s biggest centres, there were dramatic drops in smaller communities. The report says Duncan’s vacancy rate dropped from 2.6 per cent in October last year to 0.5 per cent, while the overall rent increase is up 4.1 per cent to $814 per month. Courtenay’s vacancy rate in October fell to 0.6 per cent from 2.4 per cent while the total average rental rate climbed 4.8 per cent to $877 per month. The average cost to rent in Port Alberni has climbed 5.2 per cent over the last year to $717 per month, with a vacancy rate drop from 1.7 per cent in Oct. 2017 to 0.7 per cent last month. Campbell River’s vacancy rate ticked one point higher to 0.6 per cent, with an average rent of $925, 7.5 per cent higher than last year. Parksville, which had no vacancy rate in Oct. 2017, is at 0.2 per cent. The average monthly cost to rent soared eight per cent in Parksville year-over-year from $811 in Oct. 2017 to $906. Rent increased in Oct. 2.4 per cent from 2016 to 2017. The overall vacancy rate for total row townhouses and apartments in B.C. is up to 1.4 per cent, while the average rent for a two-bedroom home is $1,377 for a six per cent increase. CMHC says population growth has driven rental demand in B.C, particularly for people between the ages of 20 and 34 and those 65-years-old or over. The report says migration is a factor with many new interprovincial arrivals preferring to rent before looking into owning a home, with elevated house prices and rising mortgage rates contributing to strong rental demand.