Okotoks residents in the market for rental housing should prepare for a significant challenge.

With a vacancy rate around one per cent, limited high density housing and no legislation on extras such as pet deposits, finding a suitable home within a fixed budget is difficult. With the population in Okotoks continuing to increase, the competition is fierce for what is available on the market and pricing is higher than other rural areas due to the demand.

Development Services Director for the Town of Okotoks, Michael MacIntyre, says the demand for single detached housing prior to the increased population was what developers responded to. This created a shortage of high density housing which is primarily what people look for when renting, but was not in high demand until more recently.

"Single detached housing was fairly lucrative, and the demand was sufficiently high. The building industry was likely responding to that market demand." said MacIntyre.

In response, the town has formed an affordable housing task force to address these and other issues and will begin meetings next week.

MacIntyre says the objective of the task force is to take a closer look at housing to determine what needs to change going forward.

"Council formed the affordable housing task force late in 2017 to begin in 2018 and look at housing in a more comprehensive way" he said.

As the population continues to grow and age, the demand for high density housing has increased and needs to be addressed.

Average costs start at $735 for shared accommodation and rise to $2150 for a 4 bedroom unit.

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