Metro Vancouver is heading for a rental housing crisis this fall as a “perfect storm” of factors pushes an already record low vacancy rate even lower, says a leading Vancouver-based real estate firm.
“There has traditionally been a shortage of rental housing for students when they start school in the fall, but this year it looks like that shortage is going to be a lot worse,” said Nick Marini, vice-president at Macdonald Property Management.
Based on government statistics, Macdonald is forecasting a seven-per-cent increase this year in international students attending B.C. educational institutions. Meanwhile, the market-dampening 15-per-cent foreign buyers’ tax and tighter mortgage qualification requirements mean that parents of students are less likely to buy homes for their children, said Marini. As a result, a larger number of students will be hunting for rental housing this fall, increasing demand for accommodation.
Marini said the government steps to cool the red-hot housing market — such as the 15-per-cent foreign buyers’ tax and mortgage restrictions requiring that first-time buyers have higher incomes — have only pushed the housing affordability crisis to the rental market.