Rental Buildings Rocket But Vacancy Rates Stay Low: Report

September 16, 2014

Construction of purpose-built rental properties rocketed 79 per cent in Vancouver in 2013 compared with 2012, and 30 per cent across Metro Vancouver – but real estate investors need not fear, as vacancy rates remained low, according to the Metro Vancouver Housing Data Book.

The latest quarterly update of the report said that 1,944 rental properties were built in 2013 compared with 1,088 in 2012 in Vancouver. Across Metro Vancouver, the number climbed to 3,149 in 2013 from 2,412 the previous year.

However the UDI cited data reported by CMHC for fall 2013, which shows that of the total 105,548 rental apartments in Metro Vancouver, the vacancy rate was 1.7 per cent, slightly lower than the previous year’s rate of 1.8 per cent.

The vacancy rate of 1.7 per cent for 2013 is slightly above the 10-year average of 1.4 per cent for the region (2004-2013) but still lower than the 2-3 per cent that is considered to be a balanced market for rentals.

The UDI reported that, with average vacancy rates varying by unit type and location, the average vacancy rate for one-bedroom units was 1.1 per cent compared with 2.7 per cent for three-plus-bedroom units.

The lowest average vacancy rates were found on the North Shore (0.9 per cent) while the highest average vacancy rate of 4.3 per cent was found in Surrey/White Rock.

The UDI added that demand for rental housing is expected to continue, as growth in the region is largely attributed to migration and the fact that migrants tend to rent before purchasing a residence.