Short-term rentals impacting Halifax’s rental market

After a $400 rent increase pushed her out of her house, Samantha McPhee has been on the hunt for a new place, but she says prices everywhere have skyrocketed over the past few years.

“There shouldn’t be two-bedroom apartments for $1,500, $1,700 — it’s not OK, and these places are in less-than-desirable neighbourhoods. They don’t fit $1,500 price ranges,” she said.

McPhee says even when she is able to find a place within her budget, it goes fast. She said called the landlord for one place she liked the day after she viewed it but it was already gone.

“Somebody came right after me and had cash in their hand and gave them a damage desosit right then and there.”

Over the past three years, Halifax’s vacancy rate has been steadily declining and now sits at 1.6 percent. At the same time, the short-term rental market has been growing.

“On August 31 there were just over 2,400 short-term rentals active in the city,” said McGill University assistant professor David Wachsmuth.

“About a third we think were full-time operations which had converted entire housing units basically into hotels.”

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