Paul Liberatore

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Finding an apartment to rent in Vancouver has become more difficult than it was

 

The city’s already-low apartment vacancy rate has fallen to 0.8%, down from 1.0% last year and 1.7% two years ago. As fewer apartments have become available, the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment has increased 4.6% to $1,360.

Across British Columbia, the vacancy rate dipped from 1.5% last year to 1.2%, and the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment has jumped 3.8%, reaching $1,147. Renters in Kelowna and Victoria are likely to find it even more difficult to find apartments than those in Vancouver, as those cities have vacancy rates of 0.3% and 0.6%, respectively. Abbotsford-Mission has seen its vacancy rate plunge over the last year, from 3.1% to 0.9%.

The vacancy rate is significantly lower than the national average of 3.5%, which is up half a percentage point compared with the year before. The average rent in Canada for a two-bedroom unit has increased 2.3% to $934.

“The rise in the national vacancy rate was due to lower net migration in regions most affected by low oil prices as well as an increase in the supply of purpose-built rental apartment units,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC chief economist.

The highest vacancy rates in the country were found in New Brunswick (7.4%), Saskatchewan (6.8%) and Alberta (5.6%).

Those looking for a home to rent in Vancouver may find it slightly easier to rent a condo than an apartment, according to the report, as the condo vacancy rate increased from 0.7% to 0.9% and the average rent for a two-bedroom condo dipped from $1,668 last year to $1,543.

Nationally, however, the vacancy rate for condos grew to 2.3% from 1.6% last year.

“Consistent with results from previous surveys, condominium vacancy rates were found to be lower than vacancy rates for purpose-built rental apartment units in most centres,” the CMHC said in a press release.

“Condominiums are typically newer and tend to offer a greater range of amenities than purpose-built rental apartments.”

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