Dreams of Olympic-Sized Rental Payday Dashed

With scores of Vancouver residents counting on gold-lined pockets come February, it's becoming apparent that the expected private-rental land rush around the 2010 Winter Olympics just isn't going to happen. And like the storied Russian hockey team bested by an unlikely American squad in the 1980 Winter Games, Vancouver simply never saw this one coming.

Seemingly since the venue announcement in 2003, hundreds of Vancouver home- and apartment-owners have been gearing up to hit a major payday by renting out their residences to international tourists during the Games. Many have even sunk capital into upgrades and improvements in hopes of luring higher-end renters.

But with less than a month until the opening ceremonies, many of the available rentals are stagnating on the market. A combination of factors has come into play to dash the Olympic dreams of so many would-be landlords:

  • Vancouver is the largest city to ever host the Winter Games, and has a proportionately larger stock of hotel rooms to offer.
  • The large population also means that there's a wider pool of residents to house visiting friends and family from surrounding Canada and the nearby U.S.

And you can't have a discussion about financial disappointment these days without pointing a finger - or two, in this case - at the economy:

  • Recession-rattled Games sponsors and media organizations have scaled back their on-the-ground presence, releasing hundreds of hotel rooms back into the pool.
  • "In this economy..." who can afford to fly off to British Columbia to catch a curling match, for pete's sake?!

It all adds up to bad news for Vancouverites hoping to (literally) win gold next month.
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