Vancouver’s new short-term rental rules now in effect

VANCOUVER — Vancouver city council enacted a new city bylaw Wednesday that legalizes renting out properties for less than 30 days, and includes measures designed to safeguard long-term housing stock.

Starting April 19, property owners or renters who have their landlord’s permission will be able to apply for a business licence through a new online application the city has designed to make the process as easy and fast as possible. The licence costs an initial $56, and successful applicants must then pay an additional $49 per year.

Under the new rules, people who own or rent will be able to short-term rent the residence where they live full-time; that requirement applies to basement suites and laneway houses.

The city is defining a principal residence as “where the operator resides for more than 180 days of the year and receives mail.” People who pay Vancouver’s tax on empty homes cannot operate short-term rentals at those properties, according to the city.

Renters must have permission from their landlords, and condo owners must be in accordance with their strata’s rules.

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The city wants to encourage people who fall under the new rules to get a business licence, so staff don’t plan to start enforcing a possible $1,000-a-day fine for non-compliance until after Aug. 31.

But commercial operators — those who list multiple properties on sites like Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway — will be subject to immediate enforcement, Kay Krishna, general manager of development, buildings and licensing for the city, told media last week in a briefing.

The city estimates that around 1,000 of an estimated 6,600 short-term rental listings in the city will no longer be allowed under the new policy.

The city and Airbnb, which represents 88 per cent of short-term rental listings in Vancouver, announced they had signed a memorandum of understanding. Under the agreement, people will not be able to list properties on Airbnb without a valid business licence, and the company will also give quarterly data reports to the city.

Stats Centre Reports for Housing in Great Vancouver

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Canadian Monthly GDP (February) – April, 2018

The Canadian economy bounced back in February after a down month in January. Real GDP grew 0.4 per cent on a monthly basis in February, led by higher output in the manufacturing and construction sector as well as a rebound in mining and oil and gas extraction. The output of offices of real estate agents and brokers across Canada fell for a second consecutive month due to the ongoing impact of the B20 stress test.

Given today’s release, growth in the Canadian economy is tracking at just under 2 per cent for the first quarter of 2018. Continued above trend growth and rising inflation signal further interest rates increases by the Bank of Canada, possibly as soon as the end of May.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

US Real GDP Growth – April, 2018

US real GDP growth registered 2.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2018, the slowest pace in a year due to a pullback in spending by households that saw consumer spending post its lowest growth in five years. On the positive side, business investment was solid and exports rose nearly 5 per cent. However, US imports of goods and services from other countries grew only 2.6 per cent.

While steady growth in the United States is generally good news for the BC economy, slow growth in US imports and the ad-hoc approach to trade policy under the current administration still present a significant risk for BC’s important export sector.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

Canadian Inflation and Retail Sales – April, 2018

Canadian retail sales increased 0.4 per cent on monthly in basis in February and were 3.5 per cent higher year-over-year. Sales were higher in only 4 of 11 sub-sectors representing less than half of total retail trade. With today’s data, and all other data available thus far for the first quarter, we are tracking Canadian economic growth at about 1.6 per cent for the first quarter of 2018. In BC, retail sales were up 0.4 per cent on a monthly basis and 5.9 per cent year-over-year. Retail sales in the province continue to moderate back to historical trend after growing close to 10 per cent in 2017.

Canadian inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), increased again in March as prices rose 2.3 per cent year-over-year, up from 2.2 per cent in February. The Bank of Canada’s three measures of trend inflation were relatively unchanged at around 2 per cent. In BC, provincial consumer price inflation was 2.6 per cent in the 12 months to March. Rising inflation and an economy operating at capacity signals further Bank of Canada tightening, potentially as soon as the next interest rate decision on May 30.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.