Vancouver Market Focus

Vancouver Canada – AUGUST 6, 2020

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the latest edition of Market Focus! We’re settling into British Columbia’s largest city…Vancouver! A relatively new city, even by North American standards, “Hollywood North” has wasted no time becoming a highly desirable destination to live. Named The Friendliest City in the World, the Fifth Healthiest City in the World, and also the Third Most Livable City in the World, Vancouver has quite an impressive resume! About half of the population does not speak English or French as a first language; as a result, the city boasts an exciting food, arts, and cultural scene that comes with hosting people from all corners of the world.

Rental Trends

The range for a 1-bedroom apartment in Vancouver is $1,600-$2,100 CAD/month and about $3,300 CAD/month for a 3-bedroom apartment/townhome. A 4-5 bedroom home generally will begin around $4,500+ CAD/month.

Traditionally, the market in Vancouver has been fast and competitive, with more desirable properties claimed towards the beginning of the month. However, over the last few months the rental market has been affected by the pandemic in a way that gives the assignee more bargaining power. Growing property inventory, landlords struggling to find long-term tenants, and many Airbnb hosts transitioning to the long-term market are all factors contributing to more choice and flexibility on lease dates.

COVID-19 Snapshot

  • Many agents and owners are still reluctant to conduct in-person viewings, providing only video tours
  • Others may limit numbers permitted to view a property, even asking potential tenants to not touch anything in the unit or speak in the unit
  • Be in touch with your local Destination Services Consultants for on-the-ground insights, including British Columbia’s COVID reopening phases and what facilities are open to the public

Where to Live

For a more urban environment and close access to downtown offices, assignees should look towards the Downtown, Coal Harbour and Burnaby neighbourhoods. A 1-bedroom apartment will run about $2,300 CAD/month and approximately $5,000+ CAD/month for 3 bedrooms.

Sacrificing a small bit of convenience can offer larger value for assignees moving to Fairview, Cambie Village and Mount Pleasant. These areas offer amazing views of False Creek and easy access to most parts of the city.

For a more residential vibe, look to the Northern and Western parts of Vancouver. North Shore is filled with young families, near great public schools, and features great value homes. Commutes to downtown can be rough though, sometimes at over an hour. A 3-bedroom home will start from $3,000 CAD/month. The trendy West Side neighbourhood features beautiful historic homes, solid public schools, and seemingly endless amounts of avocado toast. 3-bedroom homes will run from $3,600+ CAD/month.

Tips for RMCs, HR & Assignees

We mentioned earlier that property owners were taking their homes off of Airbnb, instead putting them on the market as long-term rentals. What this means for assignees is that many homes are coming furnished at similar costs to unfurnished apartments. If you will be travelling light or opting for convenience, this may be the perfect option.

Be ready to move on signing a lease quickly if you apply. In some cities it may be worth applying to a number of properties to better your odds of approval, but this is not necessarily the case in Vancouver. If you see a property you like, it’s recommended to apply as you go. Applications can return (and be signed) as quickly as the same day.

In order to secure a property, tenants should provide 50% of the security deposit upon signing the lease. Our consultants on the ground have also reported a trend of certain Vancouver landlords asking for the first and last month’s rent before tenancy begins, in addition to security deposits for furniture. These are both illegal (though not thoroughly enforced) but should be recognized and avoided.


Local Insights for Assignees

Vancouver does not have as robust of a public transport system as Canada’s largest city, Toronto, althrough in 2019 was still named the Best Public Transport in North America. Convenient options via Skytrain, SeaBus, or regular bus can connect your commute. Despite this, most locals still prefer to drive, leading to some impressive traffic jams around bridges and during rush hours. Ride-sharing and bike-sharing are also great options, widely utilized by locals to get around.

Another wonderful perk to living in Van City is the food scene. Most will agree, the main highlights are seafood, Asian cuisine, coffee, and craft beer. This however just scratches the surface. There are seemingly countless options in this culturally diverse city, supplemented by access to so many fresh foods and ingredients. On the causal side, score fresh bread at Granville Market, use the Street Food App to locate over 100 food trucks, and end the evening with delicious Dim Sum in Chinatown. The city also offers incredible upscale dining and cocktails in the Gastown neighbourhood, with a wide variety to suit all cravings and diets.

In a city with so much to do, Vancouverites can all agree on one thing: get outside! One of the largest advantages of the city is that you don’t have to compromise when it comes to outdoor activities. Skiers can choose between multiple local mountains, and world-renowned Whistler and Blackcomb are just a short drive north. Hikers can literally climb a mountain at Grouse Grind, scale Lynn Canyon at the Capilano Suspension Bridge, and we’d be remiss to forget the gorgeous Narin Falls. Beach goers can sunbathe at Jericho Beach, where locals like to feed the hundreds of bunnies that populate the beach (we can’t make that up). The best part about all of this is that with Vancouver’s unique climate, you could do all of the above in a single day!