Posted by: Daryl & Wendy Ashby | November 15, 2010

Rental Market Conditions Ease

According to CMHC’s spring 2010 Rental Market Survey, renters in British Columbia have more choice in accommodation this year compared to last.

Vacancy rates increased in most BC centres, including Victoria and Vancouver. However, despite the increase, vacancy rates in BC’s two largest centres remain amount the lowest in Canada.

The apartment vacancy rate for BC increased to 3.1 per cent in April 2010 compared to 2.3 per cent one year ago. Larger apartments are becoming easier to find, with the vacancy rate for units with two bedrooms at 4.0 per cent, compared to 2.7 per cent lat spring.

The main factor behind higher vacancy rates was an increase in rental supply. Stock in purpose-built rental apartments and town homes grew by just under 1 per cent in 2009. In addition historically low mortgage interest rates over the past year have attracted some renter households to purchase homes of their own, thereby creating an increase in vacancy.

As a result, rents in most BC centres have increased at a slower pace than last year. The average increase in a two-bedroom apartment in BC was 2.9 per cent, compared to 3.4 per cent reported in April 2009.

Despite these tendencies, several factors will drive the demand for rental housing this year and next. A steady inflow of new residents into the province will aid the situation. An estimated 60,000 new residents will change residences, locating to BC each year, with the majority settling in the Lower Mainland. This will translate into an additional 22,000 – 24,000 new households annually many of who will be seeking rental accommodation.

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