Rental prices shoot up, while vacancy rates hold firm in Nanaimo

By Ian Holmes
December 4, 2017 - 5:08pm Updated: December 4, 2017 - 11:12pm

Purpose-built rental housing is in continual hot demand in the Nanaimo area.

NANAIMO — Rental vacancy rates remain tight in Nanaimo, while the cost of housing is noticeably more expensive.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's (CMHC) fall rental market report points to a 1.6 per cent vacancy rate in the Nanaimo area and a six per cent increase in rental costs to an average of $875 a month.

“There's more people trying to rent and that's brought the vacancy rates down and it's been driving up the rents,” CMHC senior market analyst Braden Batch told NanaimoNewsNOW.

Batch noted a six per cent rise in rental rates is significant since increases only hovered in the one-to-two per cent range for several years previously in Nanaimo.

The agency's 2016 fall report pegged Nanaimo's vacancy rate at 1.5 per cent, while the average monthly cost of a purpose-built rental unit sat at $816 in the fall of 2016.

Batch said there has been a strong shift toward rental housing in the Nanaimo area. He said according to Statistics Canada there were five new rental households for every new home owner in the Nanaimo area between 2011 and 2015.

The recent CMHC report stated there are 3,637 purpose-built rental units available in Nanaimo, up by 30 units from the year previous. The report does not include basement suites.

While it's not easy for the most part finding a place to rent in Nanaimo, Batch said your chances are better in the city's south end, where the vacancy rate stands at 4.1 per cent.

“There are some older buildings that are vacant and they didn't see quite as much as a lift in the rents and that's making the Nanaimo picture look like there's less demand.”

The vacancy rate in the Parksville-Qualicum Beach area stands at zero per cent.

Across the province the CMHC pegs the average vacancy rate unchanged at 1.3 per cent and rent at a little more than $1,160, a nearly six per cent climb from the previous year.

— with files from Dominic Abassi


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