Rental apartments vacancies fall after 2 years

By Steve Randall
Canada’s supply of available purpose-built rental apartments has tightened.

CMHC says that the average vacancy rate in October in markets with a population of at least 10,000 fell to 3%, from 3.7% a year earlier. Although there was a 1.2% year-over-year increase in supply (around 23,000 units) that is half of the growth rate in the previous year.

The decline in vacancies was led by recovering demand from Canada’s oil producing regions.

“Nationally, increased demand for purpose-built rental apartment units outpaced growth in supply, leading to a decline in the vacancy rate and a reversal of the trend we’ve seen over the last two years,” said Gustavo Durango, Senior Market Analyst at CMHC. “Demand for purpose-built rental apartments can be attributed to historically high levels of positive net international migration, improving employment conditions for younger households and the on-going aging of the population.”

The lowest vacancy rates for purpose-built rentals are in Kelowna and Abbotsford-Mission (both at 0.2%), Victoria (0.6%) and Vancouver (0.9%), Kingston (0.7%) and Toronto (1.0%).

Saskatoon leads the areas with the highest number of available purpose-built rentals (9.6%) followed by Regina and Edmonton (both at 7.0%) and St. John’s (7.2%).

Renters across Canada paid an average $989 in October for a two-bedroom purpose built rental with the highest rents in Vancouver ($1,552), Toronto ($1,404) and Calgary ($1,247).

BC led the rise in rents with Kelowna up 8.6%, Victoria up 8.1% and Vancouver up 6.2%.

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