Rentals Go Fast and It's Expensive To Live Downtown

This is the second post about the rental market in Vancouver. The initial post on Vancouver's rental market can be found here.

Let’s face it, renting in Vancouver isn’t easy. The prices are high and the competition is stiff. Rumor has it that no one can find pet-friendly housing and if you do luck out, you’ll get renovicted in a few months anyways. Just the thought of having to move sends me into a sweaty panic. But are we stressed out with good reason? How bad is it really?

Bad news first. Rents are indeed increasing and most listed units are gone within the week. This is from looking at rental postings on CL for the last 6 months. But things are not all bad. The price increases are uneven across the city, and smaller units are slightly easier to find.

Rent Increases Have Been Localized to Downtown.

Looking across the city rents have been pretty consistent since December 2016. One bedroom price changes are hovering around 0, while two bedrooms swing but in both directions. Downtown is the outlier, with rents increasing every month since last December. The median one bedroom in Downtown now costs north of $2000. Padmapper found similar numbers in their recent rental report.

So if you’re apartment hunting, try looking around the city instead. In four of the five most rental-dense neighbourhoods, rents rose towards the end of the year but then quickly moderated into January and February. Though more recently, prices have ticked up between 5% and 10%.

If You Spot a Good Place, Act Fast.

Because about half of all units disappear within just three days of listing. Wait ten days and 80% of listings are gone. These numbers change a bit depending on the size and location though. Studios stay listed for a bit longer than one bedrooms, which last longer than 2 bedrooms. Also, it’s easier to find a listing in Downtown because you get about about 12 hours extra compared to Sunset.

Waiting Doesn’t Work. Try Asking?

Finally, about 15% of landlords do revise their prices and usually downwards. However, this is unrelated to the number of days the unit has been listed. Most discounts are within 10% of the original price. You’d think the owners would back down after a few weeks but alas, rental prices are sticky. You might have better luck appealing to their sentimental side.

Final Remarks

So after looking at the data, we recommend the following course of action:

  1. To find a good deal, try looking outside of downtown where prices have mostly been stable. If you really want to live in the heart of the city, be prepared to shell out especially for 2 or more bedrooms.
  2. Make sure to act fast. Most places are gone within a week of posting.
  3. Waiting for a landlord to drop their prices doesn’t usually work.

Thanks of reading! Also, I'm currently available for both short and longer term opportunities related to data science. If you or someone you know is looking for someone to make sense out of their data, drop me a line.

By @Louie Dinh in
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