Anti-poverty groups are saying rental fees are still out of reach for low income people, despite the fact vacancy rates are on the rise.

A report by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) says Regina has a vacancy rate of 7.7 per cent and the average rent is $1,041 a month.

“In 2018, we saw Regina’s rental increase from seven per cent to 7.7 per cent and that’s because we saw the expansion and supply rise faster than the demand,” said Goodson Mwale, senior analyst with CMHC.

The average rent only dropped $15 from the previous year according to the report. Anti-poverty groups are saying it is still unaffordable.

Anti-poverty advocate Peter Gilmer says the change in the market isn’t delivering what he had hoped. He added it’s taking a toll on the community’s most vulnerable.

“Those on low and fixed incomes have not been able to keep up with their rent so that’s made for a real crisis in terms of availability to affordable housing and inability to meet other basic needs,” he said.

The CMHC says landlords are using incentives to attract tenants in order to maintain rental fees. It says one out of every two units in Regina had a new tenant in the last 12 months.

Gilmer says a stabilizing market is encouraging and he hopes the raising vacancy rate will add urgency to the development of social and affordable housing.