Vancouver and Portland are both bringing thousands of new condo and apartment units online over the next few years. The local rental market has been as tight as the local housing market and these units should help to ease the puffed up rents, particularly over in Portland.
These new units coming online locally in Vancouver are by no means limited to the massive waterfront project that has phase one under construction. The first series of units should be available sometime this summer at the waterfront.
A great deal of new units has come online in greater downtown very recently including a sizable project called 15 West apartments on Mill Plain between Esther and Columbia, another project at 13th and Columbia, Senior apartments at Mill Plain and Esther near VanVista, and the Uptown building recently complete at 17th and Main. Also under construction is Our Heroes Place at Mill Plain and E Street.
Apartments are under construction all over Vancouver in an effort to keep up with an increasing demand. The waterfront apartments and condos are not likely to be in the "affordable" range. The city will have a certain number of units for "affordable housing" as part of development package, but most of these units will be more expensive as this is a desirable location with Columbia River waterfront exposure.
These waterfront and downtown mid-rise and high-rise apartments and condos will be a little more expensive but they will take the pressure off of the rents in more modest apartment complexes that have been pushing the boundaries ever higher on rent. A 2 bedroom 1 bath apartment in a suburban east Vancouver complex was easily had for $600-700 in 2007 at the peak of the market before the big "crash". While housing values plummeted, apartments suddenly became scarce as owners became renters in large numbers. Those same $600 units are now nearly double that amount. I would love to see a little rental pressure release to soften prices in older and less well maintained complexes and put a proper spread between the values of a more luxury complex against a more modest development.
Now that the city has opened up this floodgate of apartments, it is time to open up the floodgates for employers to come in with good stable, high paying jobs. Vancouver USA needs to aggressively go after employers from all over the nation looking to move to the Pacific Northwest. Our area is currently very popular all around the nation, we are a bit of a "hot spot" and this is the time to capitalize on it by getting medium and large employers to locate here.
Having rents moderate a bit will also take a little pressure off the purchase market and that might be a good thing. Inventory has been so tight that buyers are being squeezed to the last drop. A little less buyers would moderate the market and help keep a sustainable appreciation rather than marching towards a "bubble."
Things are looking good in America's Vancouver.