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Vancouver apartment demand persists: report

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

According to the Goodman report: 2014 Greater Vancouver Rental Apartment Review, the Greater Vancouver area experienced a record-breaking $778-million in apartment transactions in 2014, up 33 per cent from the previous year. The average price per suite also increased, year-over-year, to $237,000.

Vacancy rates across the region decreased to one per cent in Greater Vancouver and 0.5 per cent in the City of Vancouver, suggesting persistent demand for housing in the rental market. The Goodman report, which is compiled by David Goodman, a Vancouver realtor with over 40 years of experience in multi-family real estate, draws data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Statistics released in the CMHC’s most recent Rental Market Survey found that the following factors fueled Greater Vancouver’s rental market growth in 2014:

  • Stronger labour market conditions;
  • Higher post-secondary enrolment;
  • Fewer individuals choosing home ownership as a result of high housing prices; and
  • Higher net migration.

Inventory of both purpose-built and condominium rental apartments also rose in 2014, but only slightly. Despite Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson’s pledge to develop 1,000 new rental units each year, the area’s vacancy rates remain very low. Moving forward, David Goodman and his team believe the City needs to focus more closely on what its citizens need, that is, ample rental accommodations.

“We’d love to see the city cultivate a market-driven environment by creating a separate body, independent from government, in charge of fast-tracking approvals so that developers could build what the market requires, including micro-units,” the report states. “Everybody would benefit. Tenants would have expanded choices, the city would increase its tax base, thousands of new construction jobs would be created, and owners of older, low-density buildings would be able to sell them for appropriate land value. This issue of enabling affordable rentals should be dealt with as a priority, or very serious social and economic consequences will follow.”

In the Greater Vancouver area, 123 rental buildings were sold in 2014, 31 of which are slated to be demolished. Goodman says the demolished buildings will likely be replaced by new high-rise condominiums.

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