Why is GEC growing its PBSA portfolio in Canada?

Canada’s government policies have made the country an attractive destination for international students. Supportive visa processes, welcoming immigration policies, off-campus working opportunities, and a strong emphasis on multiculturalism have contributed to the country’s international student population boom. The need for student housing in Vancouver is intrinsically linked to this influx of international students requiring quality accommodations, creating a consistent demand for student housing. However, most colleges and universities do not provide housing, while two major universities in Greater Vancouver have thousands on their housing waiting list. Students struggle to find accommodations in the city.

In January 2023, CMHC reported the chronic shortage of rental housing in Vancouver, with the vacancy rate for purpose-built rental properties dipping to 0.9%(*1), lower than that of New York City. Furthermore, RBC reported on March 22nd, 2023, Canada’s rental shortage could quadruple in 4 years(*2). Other complications such as high-interest rates, inflations, rising construction costs and rent-control policies in major cities like Vancouver and Toronto are causing developers to slow down or halt their rental developments, creating significant supply shortages to the diminishing inventory and shrinking pipeline.

Besides the lack of rental supply, Vancouver’s real estate market is known for its high property prices, which can make it more challenging for students to find affordable housing. As a result, many students are looking for cost-effective, purpose-built student accommodations that offer a mix of flexibility, affordability, convenience, services and security.

GEC provides student-centric rental properties with well-designed spaces, fully furnished from furniture to kitchen utensils, fibre-optic internets, ensuite washers and dryers, and regular housekeeping packaged at affordable prices.

Tobu Chu

Toby Chu is Group Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of CIBT Group & Global Education City Holdings Inc.