This is from the CMHC’s report on Victoria’s rental market as at December 2010. I hope it helps anyone considering renting in the Victoria area.
The apartment vacancy rate in the Victoria Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) was 1.5 per cent in October 2010, a marginal increase from the 1.4 per cent posted in October 2009. Following four consecutive years of a 0.5 per cent vacancy rate, the elevated rates posted this year and last come as welcome news to those searching for rental accommodations, resulting in increased choice in many local rental markets.
Rental demand is levelling off due to three factors. First, as residential mortgage interest rates remain low, the shift in tenure to home-ownership has become easier for some households. Second, the secondary rental stock continues to grow, as many first-time home buyers seek single-detached homes that include secondary suites. Secondary suites are viewed as a form of “mortgage helper”, as the rental income they generate can be utilized to cover a portion of the mortgage carrying costs. Third, the job market recovery which began in the second quarter of 2009, levelled off early in 2010, impacting demand and rent levels. Over the past year, the Victoria CMA labour market has shed an estimated 2,600 jobs.
The stability in Victoria CMA apartment vacancy rates is similar to the Vancouver CMA which also experienced little change in its apartment vacancy rate in 2010. The average apartment vacancy rate in the province’s largest rental market decreased slightly to 1.9 per cent in October 2010 from 2.1 per cent last October. Similarly, the average British Columbia vacancy rate was relatively unchanged, moving to 2.7 per cent from 2.8 per cent. Similar activity was recorded for the smaller private townhome rental market, as the average vacancy rate remained at 1.8 per cent in 2010.