Renting a home in Vancouver may be easier in 2017, for some.
UBC Economist Tom Davidoff says rent prices will drop, but the question is by how much?
He says potential renters will have to see how new policies play out in the market in the New Year.
“The City of Vancouver [is] adding its new vacancy tax which will encourage a lot of people to add more rental supply. There is the new first time home buyers credit that might get some people out of condos and towards ownership. I would not be surprised to see a weak year for rental growth,” he says.
Davidoff expects a fair rent decrease in detached homes especially on the west side, though warns bargains may be neighbourhood specific.
“My best guess is we will continue to see weakness in the higher end of the rental market, detached homes, stuff on the west side. In West Vancouver, there are a lot of listings. At the lower end, you know smaller units in less prized neighborhoods, my best guess is we will see a very flat 2017.”
Renters have been under intense pressure in recent years in the City of Vancouver, where the vacancy rate hovers below 1%.
That’s led to intense competition for units with bidding wars breaking out in some cases, and rents increasing by double digits in many cases at unit turnover.
It’s also turned attention to so-called “demovictions,” in which renters are displaced from affordable rental units to make way for new high-rise condominiums.
The crunch has also put short-term rental sites like Airbnb in the spotlight, for their alleged role in soaking up available rental units for out of town visitors.