Vancouver rents rise to remain highest in Canada

Two-bedroom rentals were up 7.7% in May from a month earlier to $2,760 per month, and rents now average $3.04 per square foot

Rental rates may rise further as COVID-19 regulation ease, report warns | Photo: Dan Toulgoet

Metro Vancouver has retained the dubious status as the highest-rent region in Canada after average rents for a one-bedroom apartment rose 2.4% in May compared with a month earlier and two-bedroom rents shot up a nation-leading 7.7% to $2,760 per month.

Nationally, the average asking rent for all Canadian properties in May grew by 2% month over month to $1,708 the first increase after six straight months of declines, according to the National Rental Report from Bullpen Research and Consulting and

“After a year of rental rate declines because of COVID-19-related lockdowns, the Canadian rental market is starting to recover. The average monthly rental rate experienced its first month-over-month increase since October of last year,” the report stated.

The Metro Vancouver vacancy rate, as of December 2020, was 2.3%, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp, up from 1% a year earlier.

But vacancies could tighten, Bullpen cautions.

“With the promise of the border opening to further immigration, international students and tourism, rental rates are expected to continue to rise. The fall of 2021 could be a busy season for landlords and tenants, “ according to Ben Myers, president and CEO of Bullpen Research. 

Vancouver continues to lead the list of 35 cities for average monthly rent for a one-bedroom and two-bedroom home, the research shows.

Year over year, Metro Vancouver’s average monthly rent was down in May 2% for a one-bedroom, but up for a two-bedroom by 8.2%. 

Vancouver experienced the largest month-over-month increase among the major municipalities for condominium rentals and apartments with a monthly increase of 5.4% in average rent of $2,315, also the highest in the country, Myer noted.

“The average per-square-foot rent [in Metro Vancouver] is up 8.2% annually to $3.04, which likely reflects the greater number of small units in the market. Tenants have flocked to larger apartments in locations farther from their place of employment during the pandemic,” according to Bullpen’s findings.

 “The ramp-up in the vaccine rollout and anticipated return to normalcy has tenants trying to get in before rents trend up, increasing demand for all product and bedroom types in May, especially in Vancouver and Toronto,” Myers said.

The National Rent Report charts and analyzes monthly, quarterly and annual rates and trends in the rental market on a national, provincial, and municipal level across all listings on for 35 cities across Canada. 

Western Investor