Despite record construction across Metro Vancouver over the past year, the area’s apartment rental vacancy rate remains below 1%, according to a Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation report released November 28.
The vacancy rate was 0.9% across the Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) in October. The rate varied by home type; bachelor suites had the lowest vacancy at 0.8%, followed by one-bedroom apartments (0.9%), two-bedroom units (1%) and suites with three or more bedrooms (1.6%).
Strong employment and increasing interprovincial migration have boosted rental demand across the region. Also keeping rental vacancy rates low are the increasing costs of buying into the market, according to the CMHC.
“Current renters looking to purchase their first property, typically an apartment condominium, face two growing barriers: rising carrying cots and rising required down payments,” the report said.
“Carrying costs had been relatively flat since 2007 as modest price growth was offset by falling mortgage rates; however, since the second half of 2015, prices have growth quickly.”
Average rent increases across the region
Rents across the Vancouver CMA increased faster than the provincially allowable increase rate for the third consecutive year, meaning prospective tenants have faced higher rents than established renters. In 2017, the average rent increased 5.9%, compared with the provincially allowable rise of 3.7%. The average rent – including for both new and current tenants – increased from $1,223 last year to $1,297 in October 2017.