One-bedroom apartment listings in Vancouver now firmly stand at $2,000 a month

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      With vacancy at less than one percent for years, searching for an apartment in Vancouver is as much fun as a root canal. Now, the city's real-estate market has passed another depressing milestone (depressing for renters—I suppose landlords might look at it differently).

      The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment listing in Vancouver has hit $2,000 a month.

      According to PadMapper, a website that collects data from public listings like those posted on Craigslist, the median price for a one-bedroom right across the Metro Vancouver region sits at $2,020 as of September 2017.

      A second source says the same but about the City of Vancouver.

      Quantitative Rhetoric is a real-estate blog by Louie Dinh, a data scientist and graduate student at UBC. According to his analysis of Craiglist postings, as of September 2017, the median price for a one-bedroom in the City of Vancouver now stands at $2,000 a month.

      “In fact, rental prices are on their way up again as landlords keep testing what the markets will bear,” Dinh wrote alongside that figure in his latest blog post.

      (A third source, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), put the average price of a one-bedroom in the City of Vancouver in October 2016 much lower, at just $1,268. But CMHC calculates its average rents very differently, by surveying a sample of landlords and looking at occupied dwellings, where rents can only increase in small amounts one year to the next. The $2,000-a-month figure is most relevant to people who are in the process of moving or looking for a new place to live. It’s the average price for one-bedroom listings in Vancouver.)

      According to Statistics Canada, in 2015, the median after-tax income for a one-person household in the City of Vancouver was $33,957, or $2,830 a month.

      Median rental prices for the City of Vancouver captured in September 2017.
      Louie Dinh

      “I’m not surprised,” said Lama Mugabo, a spokesperson for the Vancouver Tenants Union, a new group that held its first meeting last April. “If you are on welfare, the situation is dire. But even if you are working, to pay $2,000 a month is a stretch.”

      Skyrocketing rents have become a major issue in a city council by-election that’s happening October 14.

      “The biggest issue is what, as a city, we can do for renters,” said Pete Fry, the Green party’s candidate. “There is only one solution, unfortunately, and that is to increase the supply.”

      Fry quickly added he knows that position might make some voters cringe.

      “When I say, ‘increase supply’, I know it immediately triggers that Vision Vancouver, NPA kind-of rhetoric,” he said. Fry clarified he’s not arguing in favour of a blank cheque for condo developers to build anything they want.

      “What we need to do is actually slow the kind of supply that we don’t need and really incentivising the kind of supply that we do need,” he explained. “That is a power that we have at the city level, through the approval and rejection of discretionary rezonings and that sort of thing.”

      Even with rents as high as they are, according to CMHC, in 2016, Metro Vancouver's vacancy rate for purpose-built rental housing was just 0.7 percent.