CMHC APARTMENT VACANCY RATES AND AVERAGE RENTS The Vancouver CMA

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					C M H C A PA R T M E N T VA C A N C Y R AT E S A N D AV E R A G E R E N T S
Each October, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) conducts a comprehensive survey of rental housing in urban areas with populations over 10,000. The survey covers all market-rental apartment and townhouse buildings with three or more rented self-contained units, collecting information on rents, availability and vacancies for the sampled buildings. Data from the October 2008 rental market survey (RMS) was released in December 2008. This report presents selected information on apartment rentals from the 2008 and previous October surveys1.

The Vancouver CMA (Census Metropolitan Area)
In October 2008, CMHC estimates that the vacancy rate for market-rental apartments in the Vancouver region as being 0.5% - only the Victoria and Kelowna CMAs had lower vacancy rates. The Windsor CMA had the highest vacancy rate (almost 15%), while the Toronto and Montreal vacancy rates were 2% and 2.4% respectively. In terms of rents, the Vancouver region had the third most expensive one-bedroom apartments in Canada, with an average rent of $880 per month - compared to $951 in Calgary and $927 in Toronto. Average rents for studio units followed the same pattern. For two-bedroom units, Vancouver moved into second place behind Calgary ($1,124 vs. $1,148). For three-bedroom units, Vancouver’s average rent of $1,356 was highest in Canada, but they account for only 2% of the Vancouver stock.

1

The full CMHC report for Vancouver & Abbotsford can be accessed at https://www03.cmhcschl.gc.ca/b2c/b2c/init.do?language=en&z_category=0/0000000079. While the October survey samples most buildings, the April surveys are much smaller and the results are reported only for CMAs, census agglomerations, and provinces.

CMHC APARTMENT VACANCY RATES & RENTS

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Apartment Vacancy Rates – City and Region
Over the last year, the overall vacancy rate for all CMAs fell from 2.6% to 2.2%. In the Vancouver CMA, the vacancy rate last year dropped from 0.7 to 0.5%, continuing its decline from 2% in 2003. In the city, the rate dropped from 0.5% to 0.3%, reaching its lowest level since 1989. Of the 54,000 market-rental apartments in the city in October 2008, 160 units were vacant.

Within the city, vacancy rates over the last year were stable or slightly lower in the Downtown peninsula and west-side areas. In the three east-side survey areas, rates fell by over 50%, but the number of vacant units is so low that the change figure is misleading – there were 140 vacant units in the three areas in 2007, falling to 58 in 2008. Over the next year, CMHC anticipates that vacancy rates will increase, but will remain low.

CMHC APARTMENT VACANCY RATES & RENTS

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Average Apartment Rents
Within the Vancouver region, in October 2008 average rents for one-bedroom units ranged from $652 a month in Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows to $1,227 in the UEL, with $936 in the city. For studio units, average rents vary from $525 to $892, but almost three-quarter’s of the region’s stock is in the city ($798). For two-bedroom units, average rents vary from $836 to $1,754, with the city ($1,319) accounting for just over one-third of the region’s stock.

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Within the city, average one-bedroom rents range from $761 in Marpole to $1,067 in Downtown. Marpole is also the only sub-area where the average rent of a two-bedroom unit is less than $1,000 a month. For all unit sizes, there is a significant rent gradient between Marpole and the three east-side areas, and the Downtown and west-side areas.

Average rents in the city have been increasing steadily over the last eight years. Since 2000, average rents have increased by 27% for studio and two-bedroom units, and by 28% for one-bedroom units. Allowing for inflation, the real increase in rents in the city has been around 1% a year. Over the next year, CMHC anticipates that rents will continue to increase, in the range of 3% to 5%.

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The Rental Condo Stock
In 2006, CMHC introduced its secondary rental market survey (SRMS) for selected CMAs, to cover rental dwelling units that are not covered by the RMS - individually rented condos, rented houses, and basement suites. Data for single-detached and semi-detached houses, duplexes, and accessory apartments is collected through a small sample survey of households, and the results are reported only for each CMA as a whole. Data for rented condo units is collected through a large sample of buildings and is reported for the Downtown penninsula, the rest of the city, and three sub-areas in the rest of the region. Excluding stratified market-rental buildings2, CMHC estimates that almost 17,000 units or 27% of the city’s apartment condo stock were rented in October 2008, compared to 18% in the rest of the Vancouver CMA. In the city, the average rents for condo units are 32% to 48% higher than for comparably sized market-rental units. CMHC notes that rented condo units are usually newer than the purpose-built rental stock, with higher end finishes and fixtures, and more building amenities. CMHC estimates that the vacancy rate for apartment condo rental units was 0.6% in both the city and the region as a whole.

2

Rental units in buildings that are stratified but where over 50% of the units are rented out by a single management company or owner are included in the RMS and do not appear in the SRMS. Page 5

CMHC APARTMENT VACANCY RATES & RENTS