VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As home-ownership dreams continue to be crushed in Vancouver because of high housing prices, a new report suggests the region needs thousands of new rental units over the next couple of years to put a roof over everyone’s head.
The RBC Economics report predicts the number of renter-households in the Vancouver area will grow by over 9,000 each year over the next few years, namely in part because of the tight and expensive housing market that’s forcing more and more would-be home-owners to rent.
It’s a sobering number in a city that already has a high demand for rentals. The vacancy rate currently sits below one per cent in Vancouver, which forced the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment to go up 6.3 per cent last year.
The report says to fill gaps and find a balance in the market, over 11,000 new rental units need to be built in the Vancouver area each year, over the next two years.
It’s not all doom and gloom though — the report says strong apartment construction bodes well for achieving balance in Vancouver’s rental market within a few years.
“It sounds like a fairly high number, it is a fairly high number but very high levels of construction right now, lead us to believe we might not be that far off the mark down the road,” says Robert Hogue, Senior Economics with RBC.
Hogue adds that’s only if about 40 per cent of the newly completed condos make their way into the rental pool.
While things look grim for Vancouver, the report has an even less optimistic outlook for Toronto, where a deliberate policy to boost rental supply is needed. The Greater Toronto Area needs an average of 26,800 rental units per year to house everyone.