Canadian Rental Vacancy Rate Up Slightly

by Chris on July 5, 2010

The average rental apartment vacancy rate in Canada’s 35 major centres increased slightly to 2.9 per cent in April 2010 from 2.7 per cent in April 2009, according to the spring Rental Market Survey released today by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

“Rental construction and competition from the condominium market added upward pressure on vacancy rates and historically low mortgage rates attracted renter households towards homeownership over the last year,” said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist at CMHC’s Market Analysis Centre.

Results of this survey reveal that, in April 2010, the centres with the lowest vacancy rates were Québec City (0.4 per cent), Regina (0.8 per cent), Winnipeg (1.0 per cent), and St. John’s (1.1 per cent). At a provincial level, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador posted the lowest vacancy rates at 1.0 per cent and 1.1 per cent, respectively.

The centres with the highest vacancy rates were Windsor (12.4 per cent), Peterborough and Abbotsford (6.6 per cent each). The provincial vacancy rate was on the rise in Alberta at 6.0 per cent this April, versus 4.6 per cent in April 2009.

The highest average monthly rents for two-bedroom apartments in new and existing structures were in Vancouver ($1,150), Toronto ($1,134), Calgary ($1,082), and Ottawa ($1,061). These four centres had average rents at or above $1,000 per month, although Victoria and Edmonton were very close, at $999 and $994, respectively. The lowest average monthly rents for two-bedroom apartments in new and existing structures were in Saguenay ($522), Trois-Rivières ($531), and Sherbrooke ($556).

Year-over-year comparisons of rents can be slightly misleading because rents in newly built structures tend to be higher than in existing buildings. However, by excluding new structures, we get a better indication of actual rent increases paid by most tenants. The average rent for two-bedroom apartments in existing structures across Canada’s major centres increased by 1.8 per cent between April 2009 and April 2010. Rent increases were larger in Regina (7.1 per cent), Saskatoon (5.3 per cent), and St. John’s (5.0 per cent).

CMHC’s spring Rental Market Survey also found that the rental apartment availability rate in Canada’s 35 major centres was 5.4 per cent in April 2010, up from 5.0 per cent in April 2009. A rental unit is considered available if the unit is vacant (physically unoccupied and ready for immediate rental), or if the existing tenant has given or received notice to move and a new tenant has not signed a lease. Availability rates were highest in Windsor (15.9 per cent), Peterborough (9.8 per cent), Saguenay (9.5 per cent), Barrie (8.3 per cent), and Sherbrooke (8.0 per cent). The lowest availability rates were in Winnipeg (1.5 per cent), Regina (1.5 per cent), and St. John’s (1.8 per cent).

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

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