Damaging NDP policy does little to increase vacancy rates: BC Liberals

Todd Stone

A report released on Wednesday by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has shown vacancy rates in Metro Vancouver have remained virtually stagnant, despite assurances from the NDP that their faulty speculation tax and other tax measures would improve housing availability.

“The NDP has repeatedly promised that it will solve many of the problems plaguing the housing market, pointing to vacancy rates in particular as an area that will see improvement,” said BC Liberal Housing Critic Todd Stone. “What we see in this latest report from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is that these NDP policies, in addition to being damaging, have been largely ineffective.”

Vacancy rates in Metro Vancouver have increased by a scant 0.1 per cent — from 1 to 1.1 per cent — keeping Metro Vancouver with the lowest vacancy rate among Canada’s largest cities. From Vancouver’s primary rental market of 109,289 units in 2018, a 0.1 per cent increase in the vacancy rate would represent slightly more than 100 units. 

Monthly rents for a two-bedroom apartment in Vancouver have gone up by $99, meaning on average, renters are paying $1,188 more per year than they were in 2018. The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment unit in Vancouver increased by 4.9% to $1,748, the highest in Canada. In the secondary market (owner-rented condos and suites), the vacancy rate for Vancouver is a mere 0.3%, which is unchanged from the previous year. Prospective tenants also face higher rents than long-term tenants, with the average asking rent for vacant units being 20.8% higher than the average rent paid for occupied units in 2019.

“Today’s rental survey results have demonstrated just how negative an impact NDP taxes and policies have had on renters in this province,” said Stone. “Rents continue to rise, vacancy rates remain incredibly low, and the NDP’s promised annual $400 rebate for renters continues to be missing in action. It is becoming increasingly clear that the NDP’s rental housing plan is an abysmal failure.”