- LET'S DO SOMETHING NOW - - - Rental Market Solutions Need to be Implemented

WINNIPEG - A discussion paper on Manitoba’s acute rental shortage, released today by WinnipegREALTORS®; calls for action now to turnaround a long protracted shortage of rental housing. Winnipeg’s .8% rental vacancy rate (lowest vacancy rate of 34 census metropolitan centres surveyed in the nation by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation in fall 2010) is a contributing factor in making Winnipeg’s housing less affordable. It is also limiting good housing market choice and flexibility since rental is so scarce.

“ There are some areas of Winnipeg where there is virtually nothing to rent so invariably any house that becomes available for sale becomes the only choice for someone to bid on,” said Mel Boisvert, chair of the WinnipegREALTORS® task force that produced this discussion paper. “First-time buyers in particular are finding it difficult because the entry level market under $200,000 is shrinking noticeably due to escalating house prices.”

The 7th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey has for the first time dropped Winnipeg’s ranking from affordable to moderately unaffordable. We need to unclog the impediments and barriers to creating more rental supply. How can you continue to increase the number of immigrants without a plan to provide them with accessible and affordable accommodations?

The discussion paper raises a number of issues such as rent regulation and also looks at what role each level of government can play in helping solve Manitoba’s rental shortage.

“There is no magic wand or quick fix,” said Boisvert. “Hopefully, some of the solutions we put forward in the discussion paper will be considered. Doing more of the same is not an option.”

A good place to start is to bring housing stakeholders together to discuss how Manitoba can address the rental shortage in a manner fair to all parties concerned. More regulation is not the answer if you want to encourage the private sector to invest in and build more rental units.

The discussion paper can be found at http://www.winnipegrealtors.ca/positionPaper/Paper2011March.pdf

For further information, contact Peter Squire at 786-8854.

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