Rental market opens up 

Number of ads for accommodation at record levels

The number of places for rent in Whistler is at its highest point since the Whistler Housing Authority started keeping records of classified accommodation ads in 2002. And prices are starting to drop as well.

Since the end of March the number of long term accommodation ads at Pique Newsmagazine spiked, with over 640 ads in the first week of April. Comparatively, the first week of April in 2009 had just 183 listings.

The number of ads has dropped off slightly since then but Pique has continued to average over 550 ads per week. This edition's total of 542 ads is still more than two and half times higher than the 195 available at this time last year.

Marla Zucht, manager of the Whistler Housing Authority, confirmed that the number of places available is higher than previous years.

"We saw a lot of places open up earlier this year, even before the start of April, which is traditionally when we'll start to see more turnover. That probably had something to do with the end of the 2010 Olympics and Paralympics - once those events wrapped up we saw an opening up of rental units," she said.

"We do track prices and we're starting to see that come down as well.

"It's great for new employees coming to Whistler, that it's a great time to come here and that there is lots of housing available."

Zucht expects to continue to see higher than normal numbers of rental units available for the future as the Rainbow development progresses. At the end of the summer the Cheakamus Crossing neighbourhood will start to house roughly 1,300 Whistler employees, many of which are currently renting.

The WHA numbers started to trend upwards from the end of February, with the number of ads in The Question and Pique Newsmagazine jumping from less than 50 to over 150 in two weeks, from Feb. 22 to March 8. By the third week of March there were close to 200 ads more.

The previous record topped out at just shy of 300 ads by around mid-April for the 2005 year. The mark set this April was doubles that.

Numbers were also at their historical lowest through the 2007, 2008 and 2009 years in the lead-up to the Games, when construction was booming and hundreds of new jobs were created. The 2002 season was also lower than average for the most part - possibly as a result of the brief recession that resulted from the 9/11 terror attacks.

Prices have only receded slightly from last year, but are on the way down from the highs of 2009.

The rental price for an average studio is down from $1,470 in 2009 to $1,409 in March 2010. For a one bedroom the drop is from $1,551 to $1,505, a two-bedroom dropped from $2,377 to $2,275, a three-bedroom dropped from $3,629 to $3,054 and a single family from $4,180 to $3,418.



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