Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

December 13, 2007 08:15 ET

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation: Rental Vacancy Rates Low in Vancouver

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Dec. 13, 2007) - Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's (CMHC's) October 2007 Rental Market Survey shows that the apartment vacancy rate for the Vancouver CMA was 0.7 per cent, unchanged from 2006. With the exception of the City of Vancouver, vacancy rates in most centres close to the City core declined or remained at the same level as last year.

"There are several factors driving demand for rental accommodation in the Vancouver CMA," said Robyn Adamache, senior market analyst with CMHC. "The main cause is our strong economy which is creating jobs and drawing people to the region. Also, the rising cost of home ownership is causing some people to stay in rental housing rather than buy. Finally, longer completion times on condo projects are keeping first-time home buyers who bought apartments through presales in rental accommodation."

Vacancy rates were higher for larger units than for smaller ones in most centres. The average vacancy rate for bachelor and one-bedroom suites was 0.5 per cent and 0.7 per cent, respectively. Larger two and three plus bedroom units had vacancy rates of 1.0 per cent and 1.2 per cent, respectively. Higher rents and limited demand for larger units are the main reasons for higher vacancies in larger unit types.

Robust demand for rental accommodations and low vacancy rates enabled many apartment owners to secure higher rents in 2007. A comparison of structures common to the fall 2006 and 2007 rental market surveys shows a 4.6 per cent increase in rents.

The supply of purpose-built rental housing in the Vancouver CMA has been declining for several years. Preservation of purpose-built apartment rental buildings by municipalities has helped soften the decline of the rental stock to 637 suites, a fraction of the 1,713 suite loss recorded in last year's survey. However, the secondary rental sector houses more than half of renters. Most new rental supply in the Vancouver CMA is coming from homes such as apartment condominiums.

In the Abbotsford CMA, the average vacancy rate was nearly unchanged, moving from 2.0 per cent in 2006 to 2.1 per cent in 2007. While rental demand remained strong, the total supply of purpose-built apartment rentals declined by 300 suites over a one year period, resulting in the tight vacancy rate. Renovation and conversion of rentals to condominiums are the main reason for the drop in supply.

Vancouver Rental Market Survey 2007

Average Two-
Vacancy Rate Bedroom Rent
2006 2007 2006 2007
Vancouver CMA 0.7% 0.7% $1,045 $1,084
Vancouver City 0.3% 0.5% $1,241 $1,283
Burnaby 0.8% 0.5% $ 935 $ 974
Richmond 2.4% 0.7% $1,018 $1,059
North Vancouver City 0.5% 0.3% $1,010 $1,047
North Vancouver District 0.3% 0.3% $1,088 $1,147
West Vancouver 0.1% 0.1% $1,590 $1,888
Surrey 2.9% 2.4% $ 814 $ 820

Abbotsford CMA 2.0% 2.1% $ 719 $ 752

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has been Canada's national
housing agency for more than 60 years. CMHC is committed to helping
Canadians access a wide choice of quality, affordable homes, while making
vibrant, healthy communities and cities a reality across the country.

Contact Information

  • Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
    Robyn Adamache, Senior Market Analyst
    Metro Vancouver Rental Markets Contact
    (604) 737-4144 or Cell: (604) 787-9659
    Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
    Richard Sam, Market Analyst
    Fraser Valley Rental Markets Contact
    (604) 737-4089