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"As early as the end of February, we began hearing from landlords that they were having trouble finding tenants," he said.
He points to three possible reasons why the rental market has slowed down this year.
Long-time Whistler renters have been migrating out of the resort to neighbouring communities where they can still afford to buy into the marketplace.
This migration frees up more rental properties in Whistler.
At the same time, there are more property owners switching their target renters from the short-term tourist accommodation renter to the long-term renter.
Wake explained the soft winters of the past two years do not guarantee the TA renters. As such, it could be more prudent in some cases to rent out long-term for less money but a guaranteed income.
This crossover has also increased availability on the marketplace.
Wakes third reason is the soft winters of the past two years are not attracting the same numbers of employees to the resort. There is simply less demand for employment, which trickles down to less demand for housing.
Wake said this shift in the marketplace is likely not permanent.
"These things are never static," he said.
"The rental market will come back."
In the meantime some landlords and property managers are adjusting to the changing marketplace by lowering their prices.
"Its fair to say that something that was rented last year for $2,000 is now going for around $1,700," said Dave Burch, who has been a property manager with Whistler Property Services for the past four months.
Burch said its taking longer than usual to rent out the companys long-term accommodation even given the fact that its the shoulder season and its generally a slower time in the rental business.
The renters that are coming to look at the places are looking at a host of other places and taking their pick.
"Its definitely a soft market," he said.
Its a trend he started noticing at the end of March. Currently one-third of their properties lie empty.
"Its pretty tough out there as a manager trying to rent places," said Burch.
Property Manager Gord Low, owner of Mountain Country, which specializes in long-term rentals in Whistler and Pemberton, said its not uncommon for landlords to reduce their rents during the shoulder season by roughly 5 per cent.
"I would say the owners that are aware of the rental scenario in Whistler, especially at this time of year, (are) the ones smart enough to reduce the rents," said Low.
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