Rental vacancy rates remain low across the province despite a slight increase in 2016, according to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
The rate rose to 1.3 per cent this year, up from 1.2, according to a report released Monday, and that’s still more than two percentage points lower than the national rate of 3.4 per cent.
The report points to extremely low rental vacancy rates in Victoria, Abbotsford, Kelowna, Vancouver and Squamish, the latter of which reported a rate of zero per cent.
This year’s slight uptick was likely in response to large increases in private rental apartments in Vancouver, Fort St. John and Victoria. Vancouver added 922 units, while Fort St. John and Dawson Creek saw an sharp rise in rental units back on the market because of low oil prices and other energy sector slowdowns. Fort St. John and Dawson Creek also recorded the biggest drop in average rent prices, down 10.6 and 5.4 per cent respectively.
Rental rates swing upwards
The average monthly rent across the province hit $1,099 – up five per cent since 2015. That’s above 2016’s maximum increase of 2.3 per cent and is at least partially attributed to high turnover rates. The highest bumps in rent were seen in Williams Lake with 9.6 per cent, Chilliwack at 6.7 per cent and Vancouver at 6.4 per cent.
The rate varies slightly across suite size with vacancy for three- or more bedroom suites hitting two per cent, two-bedroom suites at 1.7 per cent, and bachelor and one-bedroom suites at 1.2 and 1.1 per cent, respectively. Average rates range between $925 for a bachelor to $1,379 for three or more bedrooms.
Port Alberni recorded the highest turnover rate in B.C. at 26.8 per cent, with Kamloops close behind at 25.9 per cent.