Published: Fri, November 30, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

Easing off: New Westminster rental vacancy rate slackens to 1

Easing off: New Westminster rental vacancy rate slackens to 1

Ontario, B.C. and Manitoba all saw an increase in its vacancy rates, while the rate dropped in Quebec, Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Atlantic provinces.

Across Canada, the overall vacancy rate for rental apartments fell for the second year in a row to 2.4% this year.

According to a "Rental Market Report" published Wednesday, vacancy rates in the region now sit at just one per cent-less than half the national average.

Bond says there are now more than 8,000 new rental units under construction in Metro Vancouver with approximately 2,500 of those secondary suites and 5,500 primary rental apartments that should come onto the market within the next one to three years.

Even so, renters in Greater Victoria are still faced with an extremely low vacancy rate.

The report, which looks at purpose-built rental units and condo apartments available for rent, found the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Canada jumped by 3.5% from October 2017 to October 2018.

CMHC also found the number of condominiums in Metro Vancouver used for long term rental has declined. The largest increase for two-bedroom units was in British Columbia.

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The numbers "reinforce what we already knew or what we believed to be the case, which is that housing supply is definitely needed", said Tony Irwin, president and CEO of the Federation of Rental-Housing Providers of Ontario.

The average cost to rent in Port Alberni has climbed 5.2 per cent over the past year to $717 per month, with a vacancy rate drop from 1.7 per cent in October 2017 to 0.7 per cent last month. Demand outpaced new supply as 2,698 additional units were occupied in October 2018 compared to a year ago. At $1,649 a month Vancouver is Canada's most expensive city to rent.

Rent increased in October 2.4 per cent from 2016 to 2017. And three-bedroom sites were at $1,041 a month.

According to Rouillard, some landlords across the city are seeing the high demand as a reason to not do as much upkeep on units.

Without increased supply in most of the country's markets, the situation isn't likely to change.

But for one affordable housing expert, removing rent controls could lead to more people being at risk of experiencing homelessness.

The stability of rental prices varies wildly across the country, with rent rising by 9.4 per cent over the past year in Kelowna, B.C., and going down slightly in Regina, by 0.5 per cent.

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