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Rent rates dip in Vancouver, remain high in suburbs as COVID-19 pandemic drags on

Last Updated Nov 17, 2020 at 10:22 am PST

FILE: Downtown Vancouver. (Lasia Kretzel , NEWS 1130 Photo)
Summary

Rental prices in Vancouver have dropped year over year, according to a new report from Rentals.ca

Drop in rental rates in city of Vancouver come amid COVID-19 pandemic

With more people moving out of the Vancouver core, rents aren't moving as much in the suburbs as more people relocate

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It’s getting cheaper to rent a two-bedroom apartment in Vancouver, with prices dropping eight per cent year over year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There seems to be a little bit of an exodus or, at the very least, people that would have been moving into those areas for starting their first jobs or going to school, they’re just not coming,” Ben Myers, president of Bullpen Research and Consulting, explains.

In his November report for Rentals.ca, he’s found the price drop in Vancouver and some other big Canadian cities is down to people leaving the core, a drop in immigration, and more units going on the market due to a drop in AirBnB demand.

“So that’s just adding an additional layer, certainly in the Toronto market, maybe less so in Vancouver, but there’s been a lot of completions, a lot of new rental apartment buildings, a lot of new condo apartment buildings. And, as you know, a lot of those condo apartment buildings have a significant number of units that are purchased by investors with the intent to rent out,” Myers says.

However, while prices seem to be dropping for rentals in the big city, it appears to be a different story in the suburbs, where tenants there aren’t seeing much of a break in monthly rates.

With more people working from home, the suburbs have seen more people moving out of big cities. Myers says with that, people who have sacrificed their desire for more space for location don’t have to do that anymore.

“That 450 square foot unit or that 550 square foot unit that they were just using to sleep in and their amenities were the neighbourhood, all those amenities are not open anymore. The key benefit of being able to walk to work or take a short transit trip to work, it has no value anymore,” he tells NEWS 1130.

(Courtesy Rentals.ca)

While some people may be looking to relocate to places like Richmond and Burnaby in Metro Vancouver, Myers says others are looking even farther, moving to places like Kelowna or maybe back to where they grew up.

Myers expects this trend to continue for the next several months in both Vancouver and Toronto.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 20 per cent drop year over year in rent in both Vancouver and Toronto. November, December, January are typically the slowest months for rental activity anyway,” he adds.

Out of 35 cities, the November 2020 Rent Report lists Vancouver as the third most expensive city to rent a one-bedroom apartment in across Canada, with the average price sitting at $1,901. That’s down 4.3 per cent year over year, and down 2.1 per cent month over month.

The report lists the average rental price for a two-bedroom apartment in Vancouver at $2,712 a month.