Monthly rate for a two-bedroom in B.C. climbs above $900
Strong demand for apartments across B.C. and limited rental construction are pushing rents higher, a new survey by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. shows.
B.C. accounted for four of five Canadian cities with the lowest overall vacancy rates, according to the CMHC rental survey released yesterday.
The upshot of B.C.’s tight rental market is that the average monthly rent for two-bedroom apartments in the province rose to $921 in April, 2008, from $893 a year earlier.
At $1,071, Vancouver has Canada‘s third-highest average monthly rents for two-bedroom apartments, just behind Toronto‘s $1,075 and Calgary‘s $1,096, CMHC said.
And at 9.1 per cent, Abbotsford posted the nation’s fourth highest year-over-year rent increase for two-bedroom apartments in existing structures.
B.C.’s healthy labour market has played a major role in boosting vacancy rates, said Carol Frketich, CMHC’s regional economist.
“Above average job growth, very low unemployment rates and people moving to the region are a few of the factors behind the trend to lower vacancy rates,” Frketich said.
“The widening gap between the cost of home ownership and the cost of renting, and delays in completions of condominiums, are also adding to rental demand.”
Victoria and Kelowna had Canada‘s lowest vacancy rates for all apartments at 0.3 per cent each in April, CMHC said.
The Sudbury area’s was 0.7 per cent, while Vancouver and Saskatoon each had 0.9 per cent.
B.C.’s average vacancy rate for two-bedroom apartments edged upwards to 1.6 per cent from 1.4 per cent a year ago.
“There is some relief for renters looking for two-bedroom apartments, although vacancies remain very low,” it said. “Larger apartments are becoming more difficult to find.” The vacancy rate for units with three or more bedrooms stood at 1.3 per cent in April.
Nationally, vacancy rates for all apartments moved down to 2.6 per cent in April from 2.8 per cent a year ago, as resilience in the Canadian economy continued to drive demand for rental accommodation.
“The Canadian economy remains very supportive of strong demand for both ownership and rental housing thanks to solid job creation and healthy income gains,” CMHC chief economist Bob Dugan said.
“High levels of immigration and the increasing gap between the cost of home ownership and renting continue to drive rental demand in 2008. These factors have put downward pressure on vacancy rates over the past year.”
© The Vancouver Province 2008