(Black Press Media files)

(Black Press Media files)

B.C. suburbs could see increased demand for rental units as people work from home

Vancouver’s average monthly rent is the highest out of 35 cities across Canada

As more people work from home during the ongoing pandemic, renters are looking for cheaper units with more space – including homes further away from their place of work – a new national rent report suggests.

According to the report, released Wednesday (Oct. 14) and conducted by Bullpen Research and Consulting and Rentals.ca, B.C. is one of two provinces seeing year-over-year increases to average rental prices.

Tenants are looking for larger units, either by square footage or by number of bedrooms, the collected data suggests. People also appear to be avoiding the most expensive single-family properties and condominium apartments in major cities, such as downtown Vancouver.

“Many prospective tenants desire more space as they work from home,” said Matt Danison, CEO of Rentals.ca.

The report also suggests that employment rates are continuing to adjust to closer levels of what were seen before the height of the pandemic in March and April.

Canada added nearly 380,000 jobs in September, and analysts have estimated that 75 per cent of employees who lost their jobs during the beginning of COVID, have been rehired or found new work.

This could result in demand for rental units climbing upward again this winter, Danison said.

Rentals.ca also released a rank-list of 35 cities across Canada, including five in B.C., based on highest average monthly rent prices for one- and two-bedroom units.

Vancouver is second on the list out of the 35 cities for an average monthly rent for a one-bedroom home in September at $1,941. Renting a two-bedroom home averaged at $2,712.

Despite Vancouver rental prices dropping year-over-year at 1.6 per cent for apartments and condo rentals, the city still ranks highest for the average annual rent at $2,249, across Canada.

Surrey was ranked eighth for one-bedroom units, averaging at $1,724, and 17th for two-bedroom homes, at $1,826.

Burnaby followed Surrey, at ninth, for one-bedrooms at $1,689 but sixth for two-bedroom units at $2,200.

Victoria was ranked 11th for a one-bedroom home, renting each month at $1,616 and two-bedrooms at $2,021. Year-over-year, rent for a one-bedroom unit increased 9.6 per cent. Whereas, monthly rent for a two-bedroom was up 0.8 per cent.

New Westminster was ranked in 15th spot with one-bedrooms at $1,540, as well as ranked 10th with two-bedroom units averaging at $2,100.

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