Literally no one thinks the availability of rental properties in Metro Vancouver is “very good”

Literally no one thinks the availability of rental properties in Metro Vancouver is “very good”

By Ian Holliday, Research Associate

July 31, 2016 – Sometimes, responses to poll questions can be very lopsided. These findings are some of the most striking and straightforward ones for pollsters to explain – the sort of things that end up in headlines. If 80 per cent of people believe something, that’s a pretty overwhelming consensus, and if the 20 per cent who don’t believe it have a lot in common with each other, a clear narrative emerges.

There were lots of these sorts of findings in the Angus Reid Institute’s recent poll on Metro Vancouver real estate. Among many, one such finding stood out: Literally no one who rents their home thinks the availability of rental properties in the region is “very good”:

rental availability vancouver

The zero in that graph isn’t “statistically zero” – a number of respondents so small it equally less than half of one per cent of the total sample. No, there were a total of zero respondents who chose “it’s very good” in response to this question.

Given what we know about the rental market in Greater Vancouver, that’s not particularly surprising. The rental vacancy rate in the City of Vancouver is 0.6 per cent, a number Mayor Gregor Robertson considers to be a “crisis” level. Toronto’s vacancy rate, for comparison, was 1.6 per cent in fall 2015. Montreal’s was 4 per cent.

Vancouver-area media is full of stories of renters getting into bidding wars, offering to pay hundreds of dollars more per month than the asking price in order to secure their desired home.

So it was predictable that not many people would choose a positive descriptor for the rental market in Metro Vancouver.

But the fact that not a single respondent chose “it’s very good” is somewhat surprising, from a research standpoint.

Usually, the distribution on questions where the vast majority of respondents choose one answer includes at least a handful who feel differently. That was the case on the question about the timing of the provincial government’s announcement that it would implement a tax on foreign homebuyers, for example:

rental availability vancouver

The fact that two per cent of respondents think the provincial government should have waited longer before intervening in the real estate market – something people were calling for them to do more than a year ago – highlights why the fact that no one chose “really good” to describe the rental market is so exceptional. At least a handful of respondents can normally be counted on to choose a deeply unpopular response.

It’s an indication of just how uniformly dissatisfied renters in Metro Vancouver are with the choices available to them when apartment-hunting.

But it’s not all bad news for renters. The other question asked exclusively of them in this survey – about respondents’ own rental costs – used the same metric and found a much more even distribution:

rental availability vancouver

Clearly, some renters feel they’ve been able to find a good deal, even in a market where they see their choices as severely limited.

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housingmetro vancouverreal estaterentals