Victoria renters have reason for optimism as rents drop

PadMapper says Victoria is now the fifth most expensive market in the country

(Black Press Media file photo)

(Black Press Media file photo)

One Canadian rental analyst sees Victoria becoming slightly more affordable.

According to PadMapper, rent for the average one-bedroom apartment dropped 3.8 per cent in April to $1,540 a month. The cost of a two-bedroom dropped 1.5 per cent to $1,970 in April.

ALSO READ: B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

The decrease places Victoria rents fifth among Canada’s most populous metro areas, falling one spot behind Barrie, Ont. Vancouver’s rents of $1,900 for the average one-bedroom are the most expensive in the country, followed by Toronto at $1,750.

“For the first time since January 2020, one-bedroom rents in both Vancouver and Toronto were flat on a monthly basis. (Though rent prices were still down in the double-digits year-over-year.),” according to PadMapper. “These flat rates may be a result of a recent migration of renters who never lived in these pricey cities but wanted to take advantage of the cheap rent and unheard of move-in specials currently being offered. These new renters moving in evens out the overall demand so we aren’t seeing the trend of continuous decline in rent prices anymore.”

ALSO READ: POLL: Have rising prices caused you to give up hope of buying a home?

Doug King, executive director with the Together Against Poverty Society in Victoria, said the dip in rental rates is the kind of news they’ve been waiting for.

“It’s the first indication that rents will start to decrease as a result of (rising vacancy rates),” he said. “Hopefully, this is the crest of the wave and a sign that perhaps the measures the NDP (government) have taken are starting to pay off.”

King said the group is still awaiting the latest figures from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and must determine whether the slight decrease in rates is due to the pandemic or the recent increase in Victoria’s rental stock.

“These rental-designed buildings will help relieve some of the pressure on other parts of the market,” he said, adding that those on low incomes or who have been renting their current home for a number of years will still have trouble finding affordable homes.

“For people on income assistance of disability, rent is so high they would have a hard time getting into the private market and will still depend on government assistance.”

King said that is why renovictions are such an important issue and more needs to be done to make sure protections are in place.

According to PadMapper, Quebec City has the lowest rents of any major Canadian city, with a one-bedroom fetching $790.

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