Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

June 06, 2007 11:15 ET

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation: Spring Vacancy Rates Low Across British Columbia

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - June 6, 2007) - Apartment vacancy rates in more than half of British Columbia's cities and towns were below one per cent in April according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's (CMHC's) Spring Rental Market Survey(1). Vancouver's vacancy rate was 0.9 per cent, slightly higher than Victoria at 0.8 per cent and Kelowna at 0.7 per cent. Higher rental vacancy rates in the more resource-dependent regions pushed up the provincial average to 1.2 per cent in April.

"A number of factors are behind the low vacancy rates," said Carol Frketich, BC Regional Economist at CMHC. "These include job gains among young people, a low unemployment rate attracting people to the province, and a widening gap between the cost of renting and the cost of carrying a mortgage."

On the supply side, there has been very little purpose built rental started in the province during the past five years. The secondary rental market, which includes condo apartments and secondary suites, for example, has been the main source of supply during this period. Vacancy rates and rents which include secondary rental accommodation are collected for Vancouver, Kelowna and Abbotsford in CMHC's Fall Rental Market Survey conducted each October.

CMHC's Rental Market Report, British Columbia Highlights, is available for free at\housingmarketinformation. Highlights include:

- Average two-bedroom rent approaches $900 per month.

- Availability rate (reflects vacant units and units for which notice has been given) sits at 2.2 per cent

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. For more information, visit or call 1 800 668-2642.

(1) In our analysis, we have avoided making comparisons between the results of the April 2007 rental market survey and the October 2006 survey. A key reason for this is that changes in rents, vacancy rates, and availability rates between the spring and the fall may not be solely attributable to changes in rental market conditions; they could also reflect seasonal factors. For example, if more people tend to move in the spring than in the fall, it could have an impact on vacancy and availability rates as well as the level of rents. Alternatively, in centres where there are a significant number of university students, vacancy and availability rates could be higher in the spring if students move home for the summer.

To the extent that these types of seasonal variations exist, comparing results from the spring and fall Rental Market Surveys could lead to incorrect conclusions about trends in rental market conditions. To avoid this, we have limited our analysis to the results of our spring 2007 Rental Market Survey and comparing these results for different centres across Canada. In spring 2008, when we have results from our second spring Rental Market Survey, we will be able to extend our analysis to make year over year comparisons.

The Rental Market Report, British Columbia Highlights is available on the CMHC Web site: Regional Economist

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