Rental vacancy rates edge down in Lower Mainland

Average rents went up modestly this year

Apartment vacancy rates in Metro Vancouver have dropped slightly to 1.9 per cent, according to the latest rental survey by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

That’s down from 2.1 per cent a year ago.

CMHC senior market analyst Robyn Adamache cited an increase in jobs in the region and a steady influx of new residents.

“A slowdown in first-time home buyer activity also contributed to lower vacancy rates as more households remained in the rental market,” she said.

It’s really a tale of two markets – while it’s got harder to find purpose-built rental apartments, 3,500 more investor-owned condos have gone into the rental market.

That actually increased the vacancy rate for those units as well as suites and rental houses and townhomes by half a point to 2.2 per cent.

Landlords typically raised rents by 2.6 per cent in Metro Vancouver in 2009.

The average rent of a one-bedroom apartment climbed to $940, while two-bedroom units now go for an average of $1,195.

It’s easier to find an apartment in the Abbotsford area, where the vacancy rate is 6.5 per cent. Average rents there climbed 1.5 per cent, with one-bedroom units renting for $655 and two bedrooms going for $785.

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