March 31, 2017
Vancouver rental market becoming increasingly unaffordable
Vancouver is well known to have one of the most expensive real estate markets in the world; but rental prices have also been soaring. According to the newest Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) survey, the rent for one bedrooms had a particularly steep climb this year. The median rent rose from 7.43% to $1,085 per month - for perspective, Toronto’s median rents climbed at half that rate.
Currently, the city’s west end has the highest median rents. Specifically, West Vancouver, with a median rent of $1,500 per month for a one-bedroom unit. English Bay and Downtown follows closely behind, with $1,446 and $1,400, respectively.
The lowest median rents were found in the city’s east end. Marpole saw a median rent of $910 for one bedroom, while East Hastings was a bit higher at $970.
Most concerning are the results of the early wage surveys in BC, which show that income optimistically grew at only 4%. Having the median rent increase at almost TWICE the rate of the median income is definitely a cause for concern. If this trend continues, Vancouverites will undoubtedly face an even more difficult and unaffordable housing market in the coming years.
The reason for high rental rates seem to be low inventory. Demand is high, but affordable rental units are scarce.
Notably, the vacancy tax will go into effect soon, which may help mitigate the issue. The vacancy tax was approved last year, and will charge a 1% tax on homes that are not principal residences or aren’t rented out for at least six months of the year. This tax was introduced to combat the housing crisis in Vancouver, and aims to improve rental vacancy rates. The tax will be implemented in early 2017, with first payments due in 2018.