Currently, over 50% of Vancouver’s population is living in rental units. However, Vancouver citizens may have been noticing an extreme decline in availability of rental housing; and far fewer options available especially for those with kids or pets. No matter the budget, options have become extremely limited.
According to experts, a healthy rental market will hover between 3% and 5% vacancy. Vancouver has been right around the 0.5% mark for the last two years; and has been at 2% for more than ten years. Despite this, over forty thousand people move to Vancouver every year. Despite this favourable economy, Vancouver lacks enough rental inventory. Currently, rental prices are higher than ever before.
This all raises the question: why have more rental units not been added to the market? It all boils down to a few key issues:
– Land and construction costs have risen, coupling with lengthy approval times due to increased condo development;
– Community opposition: anti-development groups are strong within Vancouver and are considerably aggressive;
– Those who would benefit from more rental housing do not represent themselves at city council meetings, making impossible for a vote to favour more rentals.
A long term fix for Vancouver’s lack of rental units could be brought on by encouraging the collaboration of the private and public sectors to plan and build rental housing. This could help to quicken the process of approving rental projects, including subsidised options, which would in turn increase the range of options available and at lower costs.
Do you rent? How has the low vacancy affected you?