Jan 2010 18

Reality Check for Games Renters

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Metro Vancouver homeowners still desperate to cash in on renting property to Olympic Games visitors are struggling to meet their expectations - even after slashing prices.

With the Games barely a month away, the market is still showing a surfeit of available rental options to would-be clients, creating the prospect that many properties won't attract any Olympic renters.

This past week one specialist listing service recorded some 2,500 properties on its site, even with the asking price cut from around $350 a night for each bedroom to $300.

Other operators tell a similar tale. Vancouver-based Prime Strategies, which finds Olympic property rentals for international corporate clients, has secured more than 800 Vancouver apartment bedrooms for its customers, but much of its remaining inventory, almost 20 per cent, could go unsold.

The slow economy is a determining factor in the mix, producing a Games-property-rental oversupply with fewer people likely to visit Vancouver and Whistler than previously expected and more homeowners looking for extra income in tough times.

Apartment owners trying to attract Games visitors were also negatively affected when the recession forced some Games sponsors and media organizations to cut back their hotel room needs. When those hotel rooms went back to the open market, it had a net impact on the apartment market.

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