Highlights of Current Rental Housing Data for the City of Victoria and James Bay

By V. Adams

The following is a summary of current and historical housing data from a variety of sources: Canada Mortgage and Housing, Census Profile, 2016 Census City of Victoria, City of Victoria, Victoria Real Estate Board, two online rental housing services and Census Mapper.ca (visual census data by city, neighbourhood).

 Highlights of Census 2016 - City of Victoria

  • 27,720 renter households in City of Victoria (61%); 70% renter households in James Bay

  • 45.9% of tenant households spend 30% or more of monthly income on shelter costs

  • 18,045 owner households in City of Victoria (39%); 30% of owner households in James Bay

  • 22.3% of owner households spend 30% or more of monthly income on shelter costs

  • 57.4% of owners hold a mortgage

  • 48% of Victoria’s 45,760 households are single person households

  • 1.8 persons is average household size

  • 2,900 housing units (6.3% of total housing stock) needed major repairs

*estimated number of secondary suites in City of Victoria (based on 20% of all single-detached houses (6,545) having secondary/basement suites = 1,300)

  • $31,570 is median after-tax income of one-person households (total income: $35,200)

  • $53,126 is median total income of households in 2015

  • $77,608 is median total income of two-or-more-person households in 2015

  • 1,555 individuals out of total of 73,745 had no income in 2015

 2019 Canadian Rental Housing Index

Provides comparative information re community profiles, demographics, and rental housing data re median incomes, core housing need etc. See website for further details.

 Other Housing Data:

BC Housing estimates there are approximately 5,000 subsidized rental units in the City of Victoria. Census 2016 estimates 12.9% of all tenant households (3,574) in city live in subsidized housing.

 Highlights of 2018 Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation’s Market Rental Report

City of Victoria/James Bay:

  • 17,182 purpose-built rental units in city; 21.2% (3,649 rental units in James Bay)

Note: City of Victoria 2018 Housing Report, (based on CMHC statistics indicates there were 15,853 purpose-built rental units in the City in 2011.

 Average rent in City of Victoria/James Bay:

  • $1,166 in Victoria and $1,267 in James Bay (highest average rent in city)

  • Bachelor:     $   935/$ 995      

  • 1Bedroom:       $1,086/$1,171

  • 2 Bedroom:  $1,438/$1,568    

  • 3 Bedroom:      $1,766/$2,182

 Vacancy rate in City of Victoria/James Bay:

  • 1.1% in Victoria and 0.5% in James Bay (lowest vacancy rate in the city)

 Rental unit turnover rate in City of Victoria/James Bay:

  • 18% for the City of Victoria, and 13.9% for James Bay, (the lowest rate in the city).

 Highlights of Rental.ca National Housing Report for September 2019

Victoria ranked #14 out of 30 Canadian cities in terms of the average rent paid for one- and two-bedroom units:

  • $1,504 (average rent for one bedroom unit, up 1.5% over last month)

  • $1,887 (average rent for two bedroom unit, up 7% over last month).

 Highlights of PadMapper.ca September 2019 Canadian Rent Report

  • Victoria ranked #5 out of top 10 Canadian cities in terms of one-bedroom median rent prices.

  • $1,400 (median rent for one bedroom unit, up 15.7% over Sept. 2018)

  • $1,720 (median rent for two bedroom unit, up 15.4% over Sept. 2018)

 Highlights of 2018 City of Victoria Housing Report:

Dwelling units approved through building permits issued in 2018 – City of Victoria/James Bay

  • New construction: 1,317 units in Victoria

  • 394 new rental units in James Bay, almost 30% of all new housing permits issued, and 67% of all purpose-built rental unit building permits issued (not including secondary or garden suites)

  • Conversions (excluding secondary/garden suites): 7/3 (the largest number in the city)

  • Secondary suites (including new construction and conversions):  42/1

  • Garden suites (including new construction and conversions: 15/0

  • Total (excluding demolitions): 1,381/401 (the largest number in the city)

  • Demolitions:  50/2

  • Net New Dwelling Units: 1,331/399 (the largest number in the city in 2018)

  • Dwelling units approved in City of Victoria from 2007-2018: 7,605; Demolished: 525

  • Annual average dwelling units approved 2007-2018: 544

  • Annual average conversions (excluding secondary/garden suites 2007-2018: 94

  • Annual average secondary/garden suites (including new construction & conversions: 41

  • Annual average number of demolitions: 44

 Secondary/Garden Suites approved through building permits issued
in City of Victoria/James Bay 2007-2018:

  • 496 in City and 36 in James Bay (represents 7.2% of total suite permits issued for this period)

 Affordable Housing Units:

According to the 2018 Victoria Housing Report, the City contributed $630,000 towards the construction of 63 affordable (non-profit) housing units in the City in 2018.

The City of Victoria has contributed $6,768,453 towards the construction of 811 affordable (non-profit) housing units in the City between 2007 and 2018. This figure represents 10.6% of all the housing units in the city built between 2007 and 2018 (7,605). For the period 2014-2018, the affordable rental units as a proportion of all housing built has declined to 3.3%.

According to the City of Victoria’s June 26, 2019 press release, the City is committing $1.5 million to build 138 affordable rental units. Mayor Helps in a September drop-in meeting indicated that the Capital Region “Housing First” multi-year program is scheduled to build 2,000 affordable rental units. It is a funding initiative involving the federal, provincial and local governments. Apparently 900 affordable housing units have been allocated to the City of Victoria, of which 72 have been built to date.

 Rental Market Statistics (Secondary Rental Market – Condos) 2011 – 2018

  • Based on annual CMHC Rental Housing Report for Victoria Census Metropolitan Area.

  • Total number of condominiums in 2011:                    11,176

  • Total number of rental condo units in 2011       2,671 (23.9% in rental pool)*

  •  Total number of condominiums in 2018:                    12,615

  • Total number of rental condo units in 2018:       3,064 (24.3% in rental pool)*

 Note:  *rental units have not been broken down into long-term or short-term vacation rentals
Average House Prices for different types of homes in the City of Victoria 1997/2018:

 (Data based on Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Services Statistics)

  •  Single Family Dwelling: $223,504 (1997)       $959,059 (2018)

  • Condominium:             $151,952  (1997)         $515,107 (2018)

  • Townhouse:                 $208,072  (1997)         $732,831 (2018)

 City of Victoria 2018 Short-Term Rental Data

The City of Victoria indicated in June press release that as of May 2019, the City had 1,268 active short-term listings, compared to 1,440 in December 2018. Apparently 675 STR business licenses have been issued, compared to 528 STR listings in 2018. Of the 675 business licenses approved, the majority (353) represent commercial operators with a $1,500 annual fee (non-principal residents in legal non-conforming suites), versus 322 principal resident operators (charged a $50 annual fee). Citing privacy and confidentiality, the City has provided no data related to aggregated STR data collected, including STR bylaw complaints received nor any enforcement/inspection activities undertaken and penalties levied for non-compliance.

The City will not release verifiable aggregate data, although it has a one year contract (valued at $48,000) with a third-party STR monitoring firm, Host Compliance LLC, to provide STR listings for compliance purposes.

AirDNA, another third party monitoring firm, in its City of Victoria profile indicated slightly more detailed information: Q2 2019 – more than 1,500 STR listings in the City, with 87% of listings for entire units suggesting that these housing units are not available as part of the long-term rental pool in the city. As a matter of comparison, the number of long-term rental listings online for the City in September – 200.

To date the City has not provided any assessment of the impact of short-term rentals on the availability of long-term rental units in Victoria. Revenue generated from STR business licenses in 2018 was $280,000. Estimated revenue based on press release data for June suggests that STR licenses have generated $577,000 for the city. Apparently any surplus will be added to the city’s Affordable Housing Fund.

 Reference Material:

CensusMapper.ca - https://censusmapper.ca/

Canadian Rental Housing Index - http://www.rentalhousingindex.ca/en/#intro

Canada Mortgage and Housing, 2018 Market Rental Report – Victoria CMA https://assets.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/sf/project/cmhc/pubsandreports/rental-market-reports-major-centres/2018/rental-market-reports-victoria-64471-2018-a01-en.pdf?rev=d83a0e0e-1b9e-482f-8375-d53fee15ea6b

Rentals.ca National Rent Report, September 2019. https://rentals.ca/national-rent-report

PadMapper September 2019 Canadian Rent Report. https://blog.padmapper.com/2019/09/16/september-2019-canadian-rent-report/

 “Short-term rental regulations result in fewer listings”, City of Victoria press release, 26 June 2019. https://www.victoria.ca/EN/meta/news/news-archives/2019-news/short-term-rental-regulations-result-in-fewer-listings.html

Official Community Plan Annual Review 2018, City of Victoria. https://pub-victoria.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=44862

Official Community Plan Annual Review 2018, staff report, City of Victoria, Sept. 5, 2019


City of Victoria 2018 Housing Report. https://pub-victoria.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=44863

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