CMHC: Vancouver’s apartment vacancies down, rental rates up

VANCOUVER – Vancouver and urban B.C. experienced a small decline in apartment vacancies over the last year and a slight increase in rental rates, according to a Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. survey released Thursday.

The survey, part of a larger national survey, found that vacancy rates for Metro Vancouver edged down to 1.9 per cent this October from 2.1 per cent on October 2009.

 “Vacancy rates declined in response to improving employment conditions and steady migration to the region, CMHC senior market analyst Robyn Adamache said in a statement. “A slowdown in first-time buyer activity also contributed to lower vacancy rates as more households remained in the rental market.”

The estimated increase in rents from October 2009 to October 2010 was 2.6 per cent, the agency said. For urban B.C., the average vacancy rate edged lower to 2.7 per cent this October from 2.8 per cent in October 2009. The average rent increased 2.3 per cent over the same period.

Nationally, the average vacancy rate for apartments in Canada’s major centres in October was 2.6 per cent, down from 2.8 per cent last year.

“The economic recovery that has taken place over the past year has boosted demand for both rental and ownership housing,” said CMHC chief economist Bob Dugan.

The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment nationally was $860 a month, up from $836 a year earlier. The highest rates were $1,195 in Vancouver, $1,123 in Toronto and $1,069 in Calgary.

Source: The Vancouver Sun

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