Landlords' asking prices in Vancouver have decreased during COVID-19, but rental sites disagree on how much
VANCOUVER -- A pair of rental websites have released data showing a decrease in the cost of one- and two-bedroom apartments listed on their platforms, but they disagree about the direction the data has been trending in recent months.
Padmapper shows the median monthly cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver at $2,070 in June, a decrease of 1.4 per cent from the previous month, and nearly 6 per cent from June 2019.
The decrease for two-bedroom apartments has been even larger, according to Padmapper, with listings on the site showing a median rent in June of $2,870, a decrease of 4.3 per cent from May and more than 10 per cent from last June.
Another recent report from Rentals.ca also shows decreases in the rent landlords in Vancouver are asking for in online listings. This report looked at the average cost of rent, rather than the median, with researchers discarding listings over $5,000 and under $500 as outliers.
The Rentals.ca data shows the average monthly asking price for a one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver as $1,987, a decrease of 1.8 per cent compared to the previous month and less than one per cent compared to last year.
For two-bedroom apartments, the average rent in Vancouver is $2,644, which represents an increase of 3.6 per cent from the previous month, according to Rentals.ca. This figure is still down 6.7 per cent from what the website found when looking at listings in June 2019, however.
Both platforms cite the COVID-19 pandemic as a driver of decreasing rents in recent months, though they disagree on whether prices are continuing to decline, beginning to rebound or remaining static.
Padmapper notes that nine of the 24 cities it studied saw median rents increase in June, while nine saw them decrease. The remaining six stayed the same.
The platform attributes this variation, in part, to changes in what tenants are looking for in a home during the pandemic.
"As the pandemic persists and working from home has become the new normal, it seems the demand for rentals has shifted away from the most pricey areas, like Toronto and Vancouver, and a significant amount of that demand is moving toward neighboring, less expensive areas," writes Crystal Chen, author of the Padmapper report. "Renters are now prioritizing affordability and space over paying more for big city amenities, most of which they can’t use currently."
Rentals.ca takes a different approach in its analysis of the data. Rather than looking for an overarching trend between cities, the platform looks at different types of listings and concludes that the decline in asking prices has been driven primarily by the most expensive types of housing to rent.
"When looking at all property types in Canada, the average rent declined for the third consecutive month in June," the Rentals.ca report reads. "However, the bulk of the declines can be attributed to the most expensive units for rent, single family homes and condominium apartments. When focusing solely on rental apartments, the average monthly rent bounced back significantly in June, rising 6.7 per cent over May."
That said, the platform notes several pandemic-related factors - including unemployment, reduced immigration and university classes moving online - that will continue to reduce rental demand.