Vacancies tip scale in favour of landlords

Tenants can expect to battle for rental units this fall, as the vacancy rate in that expensive city slips to just 1.1 percent, concludes the CMHC in its latest forecast. And as the number of units available continues to decrease, the rental rates are on the up.

The average for a one-bedroom unit is expected to jump from $964 to $1,005 this fall.  

Vancouver’s traditionally low vacancy rates have been receding steadily since 2003. Heading into September, students will be scrambling to find apartments. The demand exceeds the supply, and this trend shows no signs of changing.

Although this is great news for investors, according to the City of Vancouver, a healthy vacancy rate should sit no lower than 2%. According to senior economist and managing director at BMO Capital Markets Earl Sweet, this isn’t just a trend specific to residential units. The strong demand for B.C.’s commercial real estate also benefits from low vacancy rates and high rental price tags.

“Higher occupancy, spurred by steady growth in employment, manufacturing, wholesaling and retailing, is reducing office, industrial and retail vacancies, while lease rates are edging upward,” says Sweet. “Meanwhile, large U.S. retailers are targeting what they view as the underserved Canadian market for expansion.”

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