experts: real estate column Saturday, June 06, 2009

Can You Make a Killing During the Olympics?

If you are planning to rent a suite or room for the games, you should be organizing right now.

By Ozzie Jurock

For rent for Olympics: Two-bedroom suite at English Bay, short taxi ride or leisurely stroll to some major Vancouver 2010 Olympic sites. $800 per night. Olympic pad: Whistler chalet, three bdrms, hot tub. $30,000 for month of February 2010.

The samples above, captured online last month, give an indication of the potential income for Vancouver and Whistler homeowners willing and able to rent out all or some of their property during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and Paralympic Games, held February 12 to 28, 2010.

If you are planning to rent a suite or room for the games, you should be organizing right now. In February, NBC and CTV began heavily promoting Vancouver Olympics TV coverage, which should start the phones ringing for visitor accommodation.

Some of the 5,500 Olympic athletes, or their teams, will rent out private homes close to venues to escape the distraction of the Olympic village, while international media crews will need large houses or apartments. Most of these bookings will already have been made, or will be firmed up shortly, but visitor accommodations will be booked over the next year, likely right up to the opening ceremonies.

Average asking rent: $915 per night !

The average Olympic rental in the Vancouver area is a two-bedroom suite, and the average asking rental rate is $915 per night. Homes with more than four bedrooms show an average rent of $1,248 per night, according to Mark Szekely, who surveyed nearly 200 listings on his rent2010.net web page. In Whistler, the average asking rental rate, by bedroom, is $478 per day. Multiply by the 16 days of the Games, and you can see it can be worthwhile renting out the home, or at least a room or two.

Unlike in Salt Lake City, the last winter Olympics held in North America, there is no official rental program set up to list or monitor private rental accommodation for the 2010 Olympics.

Since there is no official Olympic visitor rental site, it is hard to know whether potential landlords are achieving the rents asked, says Bob Mackie, 2010 Olympic columnist for Business in Vancouver.

Mackie says there is a concern in the Olympic community that if rents appear too high, some visitors may forego the games. “But there will be no way of knowing until the Olympics actually start.”

The best advice could be to offer your Olympic rental at below the average asking rate to generate increased interest. Szekely recommends setting up a permanent listing on paid sites, such as rent210.net, with photos and information, and using the free Craigslist to direct traffic to it.

CHECK LOCAL BYLAWS

If you are planning on adding a rental suite to your home in time for the Olympics, be sure you are within local bylaws. At Whistler, the municipality has eased regulations to allow short-term rentals of commercial property to accommodate VANOC staff, but there is no plan to allow private homeowners to rent out their property nightly for Olympic visitors. Currently, such private rentals are restricted to a 60-day minimum.

In Vancouver, secondary suites in private homes have been allowed since 2004, and there are no restrictions on nightly rentals, but it may be wise to warn your neighbours.

Based on a look at properties being listed for rent, through sites such as 2010destinationplanner.com and craigslist.org, the selection extends right across Greater Vancouver, and includes condominiums, complete houses, single rooms, and self-contained rental suites in private houses.

The potential of making $10,000 to $30,000 in rental income during the Olympics may be impetus enough for local homeowners to go ahead with a rental suite in their home. As a ballpark, you could expect from $100 to $150 per square foot to add a rental suite in a basement, and even more for upscale finishing. Remember also, that the Olympic short-term rental will have to be offered fully furnished.

Renovating a primary residence to add a rental suite is a good way of boosting the resale value, adding value on which you don’t have to pay capital gains tax. Moreover, if you derive rental income from the renovated property, you may be eligible for a variety of tax deductions that will accelerate the return you see from the property.

Some of you may even be thinking of renting out your boat. Well, you can’t – at least not at the Coal Harbor Marina – you can have guests but you need to be there too.

The Olympics may have not driven up real estate prices ... but they sure have an effect on rentals.




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