Think renting in Toronto is rough? Vancouver highlights just how crappy things can get. CBC Vancouver reporter Angela Sterritt shared on her Twitter, a massive lineup to view a rental unit. That’s right, a single rental unit. The crowd was littered with families desperately attempting to get a shot at affordable housing in the city, which she compared to the “Hunger Games.” Pretty crappy, but statistics show this situation might further deteriorate very soon.
— Angela Sterritt (@AngelaSterritt) April 20, 2017
Over 130 People Lined Up For Hours For A Chance
The fuss was over a 2 bedroom rental in a co-op, a unicorn in the city apparently. The $1200 co-op apartment is targeted at low income families, so the apartment was around $200 cheaper per month than fair market value. According to the CBC, over 130 people lined up for a chance to look at the single apartment. While paid line standers have been used to market condos, a co-op does not stand to gain from showing demand. The people on these waitlists have been there for years.
Rental Vacancies Hit 8 Year Low
Co-ops aren’t plentiful, but rentals across the city are getting pretty scarce in general. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) most recent survey, vacancy was only 0.7%. This is the lowest rate since 2008, when rental vacancies hit 0.6%. To contrast, Toronto, now the country’s hottest market, had a rental vacancy at 1.4% during the same period. So Vancouver still sucks in the rental planning department.
Apartment Rental Vacancies: Toronto Vs. Vancouver
Expect It To Get Worse
Despite the shortage of purpose built rentals, expect it to get worse. Construction starts hit a multi-decade high in March, but rental construction declined 34%. While the extra construction is suppose to help affordability, it can only help if you can afford to buy a home. Although many of the condos will be bought for the purpose of renting out by micro-landlords.
These condos that will hit the market as secondary rentals, presents its own set of problems. CMHC stats show that the secondary rental units are generally higher in price. In 2016, they were an average of 19% higher, since renters are likely covering extra costs like the interest on the owner’s mortgage. Depending on growth of the rental market through the secondary market will send prices higher.
Affordable housing in Vancouver has been steadily deteriorating for the past decade. Soaring land values drastically reduce incentive to build rental properties. It’s no wonder the city mints a new homeless person every 30 hours.
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