Seniors in the Metro Vancouver area looking for accommodation are going through a tough time despite the fact that many seniors are going beyond the normal to pay rent rates that are more than four times higher than the average rental rate.
According to data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), approximately 370,000 seniors living in British Columbia are going through a rental squeeze.
Almost two years ago, the vacancy rate for seniors across BC was 6.3% but this figure has decreased by 10% this year, with the rental vacancy rate for seniors’ standing at 4.7%. Likewise in Metro Vancouver, the vacancy rate which was at 9% a year ago has dropped to 4.6%of the 7,586 available private seniors’ rental accommodation.
In the past year, there was also a short supply of new homes for seniors across B.C with only 500 newly constructed buildings for seniors stated the CMHC.
At an average seniors within the age of 82 are putting in close to $3,009 per month towards rent but this figures increases to $3,600 in Metro Vancouver.
Sadly, these high rental rates are way higher than the average apartments in the real estate market with the average rental rate in B.C and Metro Vancouver at $1,099 and $1,400 respectively.
However according to the CMHC the rental rate in Metro Vancouver is driven up as a result of the fact that a fifth of seniors tenants are in need of medical and housekeeping aid.
There is also a slowdown in the construction of living spaces for seniors’ because it takes developers a longer period to get a building permit.
Candy HO, vice-president of communication at Element Lifestyle Retirement Inc. which is in charge of Vancouver’s only new senior’s complex, the Opal on Cambia Street noted that the demand for senior’s apartment is very high whereas as there is lack of supply.
Opal is an expensive seniors’ apartment with rental rates ranging from $5,980 for a one-bedroom and $9,300 for a two-bedroom unit.
The residence is yet to be operational as it took 5 years for Opal to go through Vancouver’s development permit process.
Although the residence said to be opened in 2019, Ho is however skeptical whether the present rental rates will not spike up before the project completes.
Seniors’ rental rate increases are not covered under the B.C.’s Residential Tenancy Act which implies that this year there is expected to be a 3.7% increase in rate.