Vancouver rentals rank in the middle of global prices: poll
Aggregator site lists one-bedroom at $914, but current vacancies go for much more
Rents for one-bedroom apartments in the Vancouver area are the priciest in Canada, but they’re not anywhere close to the most expensive in the world.
An international study of 100 cities by Nestpick, a meta search engine, ranks Vancouver with the 44th-highest rents in the world.
But $914 for a small one-bedroom that Nestpick says is typical for a suite between 420 and 485 square feet will likely be hard to find.
That was at least $100 lower than average rents published by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. in its latest report, from October 2016, for Metro Vancouver apartments: from $1,013 for a studio and $1,159 for a one-bedroom.
The 2017 numbers, which will likely be higher, are expected in two weeks, according to a CMHC spokeswoman.
The Nestpick study did show rents for unfurnished two- or three-bedroom apartments, 800 to 1,300 square feet, in Metro Vancouver, at $1,768.
And that was higher than an average two-bedroom in Metro Vancouver in CMHC’s October 2016 report, where a two- to three- bedroom was $1,450 to $1,631.
“The ranking of Vancouver somewhere in the middle (globally) is about right,” said UBC sociology Prof. Nathan Lauster, author of The Death and Life of the Single Family House.
But he said the rents for all size rentals by similar services are “significantly higher” than those provided by Nestpick and he said its numbers weren’t “credible.”
For instance, numbeo.com, which relies on crowdsourcing, puts one-bedroom rents from $1,367 to $1,825, and three-bedrooms at $2,529 to $3,688; and Louie Dinh, a freelance data scientist who runs Quantitative Rhetoric, pegged rents in Vancouver only at $1,600 for a studio, $1,950 for a one-bedroom and $2,950 for a three-bedroom using October online listings.
Nestpick, a rent aggregator designed to provide expats and international students a comparison of rental costs worldwide, said in the study its averages may be lower than actual rents in some cities because Nestpick searched a wider area than just a city’s core.
It also said its rents could be higher than actual rates in some cities because they were “representative of today’s asking price for rent in each city, and not the overall historical average residents pay.”
PadMapper Canadian Rent Report reported rents for a Vancouver-area one-bedroom had climbed in October to $2,120, and to $3,200 for a two-bedroom.
PadMapper said it also bases its rents on active listings and not rents in all occupied units, which is why the rents are higher than numbers from CMHC.
The Nestpick study also allows comparison of what it would cost to furnish an apartment, based on the same items of furniture purchased at Ikea in each city, and how many months it would take renters to pay off the furnishings, based on average salaries. (Fourteen months in Vancouver.)
Nestpick also compared each city to the international average rent.
Vancouver’s rent of $914 for an unfurnished one-bedroom was no higher or lower than the global average, but the $1,768 for an unfurnished family-size apartment was 16 per cent higher than average, the study said.
And based on spending no more than 29 per cent of before-tax income on housing, Nestpick also determined how much an individual would have to earn in a gross salary to afford to live in each city — you have to make at least $3,155 a month to comfortably afford a onebedroom in Vancouver, and $6,099 a month for a two-plus bedroom.
The top three most expensive rents (all amounts converted to Canadian dollars) for unfurnished one-bedroom apartments were in San Francisco ($2,611), New York ($2,355) and Boston ($1,817). Seattle was No. 14, ($1,490), and other Canadian cities were Toronto, No. 50, ($935), Calgary, No. 54, ($734), Ottawa, No. 66, ($737) and Montreal, No. 80 ($583).
Vancouver ranks behind Toronto for average rents and is much cheaper than San Francisco, New York and Boston.