Vancouver apartment vacancy rate shrinks and average rent rises 6.4 percent, according to federal housing agency

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      Metropolitan Vancouver's overall vacancy rate for purpose-built rental housing has fallen to 0.7 percent for bachelor, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom units in the newest survey from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

      The federal housing agency also reported that the average rent is up 6.4 percent to $1,223.

      The vacancy rate was 1.4 percent for units of three or more bedrooms.

      "Strong demand for rental accommodation in Vancouver outpaced addition to supply, pushing rents higher and vacancies lower for purpose-built and condo rental apartments," CMHC housing analyst Robyn Adamache said in a statement.

      These statistics only covered purpose-built rentals with three more more units and not private apartments rented by condo owners or basement suites in single-family homes.

      The overall regional vacancy rate of 0.7 percent is down from 0.8 percent last year.

      The highest vacancy rate, 1.7 percent, was in the Tri-Cities area. The lowest, 0 percent, was on the University Endowment Lands, which is home to UBC's Point Grey campus.

      The lower vacancy rate and higher average rent this year were attributed to significant employment and population growth and rising entry-level home prices.

      "Strong demand for rental accommodation outpaced new additions to the supply, pushing the vacancy rates lower for both primary rental apartments and rental condominum apartments," CMHC stated in a report on the market.

      This has occurred even though starts of purpose-built rental housing have reached record highs. The number of purpose-built rental units increased by 922 units over the year.

      There were 15,7333 new households formed in the region over the past year as a result of "migration and natural increase".

      In the West End/Stanley Park area, the one-bedroom private apartment vacancy rate fell from 0.6 percent to 0.5 percent over the year. But in the English Bay area, the rate rose from 0.4 percent to 0.8 percent for a one-bedroom unit. In the downtown zone, the rate for a one-bedroom unit fell from 0.7 percet to 0.4 percent.

      In the city of Vancouver, the highest one-bedroom vacancy rate was 2.3 percent in the area defined as "Westside Kerrisdale". Nowhere else in Vancouver did it reach one percent for a one-bedroom unit.

      Average prices for a one-bedroom ranged from $955 in Marpole to $1441 in English Bay.

      The lowest rent in the region for a one-bedroom unit was $762 in Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows, followed by $849 in Delta, $855 in Surrey, and $889 in Langley City and the Township of Langley.

      In 2016, there were an estimated 1,516 condo units added to the rental market, according to CMHC. The investor-held condo vacancy rate fell from 0.9 percent to 0.3 percent over the year, with the average rent in a private condo reaching $1,625.