Richmond rental vacancy rate loosens slightly, but rents soar

Rate eases from one year ago, but average rents are way higher, reports CMHC

The rental vacancy rate has eased slightly across all of Metro Vancouver, partly driven by a small rise in vacancies in Richmond, according to new annual data released November 28 by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

The federal housing agency said that vacancies in Richmond over the past year have risen to a still-tight 0.7 per cent of total rental housing stock, up from 0.6 per cent in fall 2017.

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However, the increase in supply was too meagre to help stabilize rents in the city, which continued to rise well above inflation.

The average rent in Richmond was reported as $1,323 this year (all apartments), up 7.0 per cent from one year previously. One-bedroom rents were up 4.5 per cent to an average of $1,213, while two-beds rose a whopping 8.5 per cent year over year, to $1,466 on average.

Elsewhere in Metro Vancouver, Burnaby saw vacancy rates ease significantly from 0.7 to 2.0 per cent, with a host of new-build apartments coming on stream, particularly in Metrotown. North Vancouver (District), West Vancouver, New Westminster and Delta also saw slight vacancy rate increases this year. This eased Metro Vancouver’s overall vacancy rate to 1.0 per cent, from 0.9 per cent a year ago.

Vancouver, on the other hand, saw vacancy rates drop from 0.9 per cent to 0.8 per cent this year, and the Tri-Cities also saw vacancies decline, to 1.2 per cent versus 1.4 per cent in 2017. Surrey joined those cities in a tightening rental market, dropping to a very low 0.4 per cent, compared with 0.6 per cent last year. Surrey has recently seen the launch of the first new rental purpose-built building in the city in more than three decades.

The CMHC said that a strong Metro Vancouver economy and the high cost of entry-level homeownership is fuelling rental demand.

Check out the full Metro Vancouver report to see vacancy rates and rental prices by neighbourhood.

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