Vancouver's antidensification zealots and suburban mayors still outlawing secondary suites and laneway houses might want to pay attention to the latest news release from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
It shows some shockingly low rental vacancy rates, which can only mean one thing. Rents will likely be going up for tenants once this news reaches local landlords.
In Vancouver's West End, the vacancy rate plunged from 0.9 percent to 0.3 percent from October 2013 to October 2014. The average two-bedroom rent in the West End has reached $1,849 per month, up from $1,794 a year ago.
Across all of Vancouver, the rate fell from one percent to 0.5 percent. An average two-bedroom unit rents for $1,571 per month on a citywide basis, according to the CMHC.
At the University Endowment Lands, the vacancy rate is a microscopic 0.2 percent. Rents for two-bedroom units around the Point Grey campus average $1,917.
In Burnaby, the vacancy rate fell from two percent to 1.3 percent from October 2013 to October 2014. The average two-bedroom unit there rents for $1,188 per month.
New Westminster, which was an early adopter of secondary suites, saw its autumn vacancy rate fall from 2.2 percent to 1.4 percent over a one-year period. Two-bedroom units rent for an average of $1,157 in the Royal City.
The City of North Vancouver's vacancy rate is down to 0.5 percent from 0.9 percent a year ago. In the nearby District of North Vancouver, the vacancy rate fell even further, dropping from 1.3 percent to 0.3 percent from October 2013 to October 2014.
Richmond also posted a big drop, down to 1.6 percent from 2.7 percent. And Surrey, which has a huge number of rental units, fell from 4.4 percent to 2.5 percent.
A two-bedroom unit in Surrey rents for $926, which is the second-lowest in the region.
Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows remain the most affordable areas for tenants, with a two-bedroom unit renting for an average of $886 per month.
Between 2006 and 2011, an average of 42,225 immigrants per year arrived in the Lower Mainland. In the meantime, the aging of the baby boomers has resulted in a sharp increase in the number of empty bedrooms across the region, according to real-estate marketer Bob Rennie.
"Empty bedrooms increased by 26 percent over the past decade while housing-stock growth was only 17 percent," Rennie told an Urban Development Institute audience earlier this year.
The upshot is if rents remain high, young people and others in the labour force will continue moving out of Vancouver in favour of cheaper areas like Surrey, Maple Ridge, and Abbotsford. Eventually, they're going to want to work close to where they live, which doesn't bode well for Vancouver's economic future.
Whistler has struggled with this issue for many years, relying heavily on young Australians to fill jobs that others won't take because the cost of housing is so high in the resort community.
Is this really what we want Vancouver's future to look like?