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Canada’s Purpose-Built Rental Vacancy Rate Increases

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Canada’s Purpose-Built Rental Vacancy Rate Increases

In the privately initiated purpose-built rental market, the average rental apartment vacancy rate in Canada’s 35 larger centres1 increased slightly, to 2.8 per cent in October 2014, from 2.7 per cent in October 2013, according to the fall Rental Market Survey2 released today by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

“Between October 2013 and October 2014, the supply of purpose built rental housing units rose by 2.7 per cent. Overall, this increase in supply outpaced the rise in occupied units, slightly pushing up the national vacancy rate,” said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist at CMHC’s Market Analysis Centre. “That said, demand for rental housing was supported by net migration and steady levels of full-time employment in the 15 to 24 age group”.

The results of CMHC’s fall survey reveal that the highest purpose-built rental housing vacancy rates among the country’s larger centres were in Saint John (9.0 per cent), Moncton (8.7 per cent), Ottawa-Gatineau (Que. part) (6.5 per cent) and Charlottetown (5.9 per cent), while the lowest vacancy rates were registered in Vancouver and Kelowna (1.0 per cent), Guelph (1.2 per cent), Calgary (1.4 per cent) and Victoria (1.5 per cent).

Overall, the average rent for two-bedroom apartments in existing structures across Canada’s 35 larger centres increased 2.5 per cent between October 2013 and October 2014. The average rent for a two bedroom apartment in new and existing structures was $941 in October 20143.

CMHC’s October 2014 Rental Market Survey also covers condominium apartments offered for rent in 11 large urban centres, including Vancouver, Toronto and Montréal. In this particular  segment of the secondary rental market, rental condominium vacancy rates ranged from a high of 3.4 per cent in Montréal, to a low of 0.7 per cent in Vancouver. Average monthly rents for two-bedroom condominium apartments were highest in Toronto ($1,818) and lowest in Québec City ($1,070).

CMHC recognizes that there is demand to fill information gaps with respect to Canada’s housing markets. To address this need CMHC has, for the first time, asked property managers to provide information on the total number of condominium apartment units owned by people whose permanent residence is outside of Canada as part of its survey. The condominium foreign investment information was collected in 11 Census Metropolitan Areas (CMA) in Canada. They include: Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal and Québec.

The results of this additional question indicate that the percentage of foreign investment in condominiums in Victoria is 1.1 per cent, Vancouver 2.3 per cent, Calgary 0.2 per cent, Edmonton 0.1 per cent, Saskatoon 0.3 per cent, Regina 0.1 per cent, Winnipeg 0.1 per cent, Toronto 2.4 per cent, Ottawa 0.7 per cent, Montréal 1.5 per cent and Québec 0.6 per cent. With respect to location, the city core in Canada’s largest rental markets (Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver) experienced larger foreign condominium ownership. (More details can be found on page 5 of the report).

Data related to today’s report is also available from CMHC’s Housing Market Information Portal at https://www03.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/hmiportal/en/.

As Canada’s authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need, and offers objective housing research and advice to Canadian governments, consumers and the housing industry.

For more information, call 1-800-668-2642. CMHC Market Analysis standard reports are also available free for download at CMHC Housing Market Information.

1 Larger centres are based on Statistics Canada Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs), with the exception of the Ottawa-Gatineau CMA, which is treated as two centres for Rental Market Survey purposes, and Charlottetown, which is a Census Agglomeration (CA).

2 CMHC’s Rental Market Survey is conducted twice a year, in April and October, to provide vacancy, availability and rent information on privately initiated structures in all centres with populations of 10,000 and more across Canada. Reports are released in June and December.

The fall survey covers apartment and row structures containing at least three rental units and, unlike the spring survey, reports information on: a) Smaller geographic zones within centres; b) The secondary rental market (rented condominium apartments, single detached, semi-detached, duplexes or accessory apartments).

3 Year-over-year comparisons of average rents can be slightly misleading because rents in newly built structures tend to be higher than in existing buildings. Excluding new structures and focusing on structures existing in both the October 2013 and October 2014 surveys provides a better indication of actual rent increases paid by tenants.

For further information contact:

Karine LeBlanc
CMHC Media Relations
613-740-5413
kjleblan@cmhc-schl.gc.ca

To access CMHC’s 2014 reports on the rental market select from the links below:

Note: A table of vacancy rates, availability rates and rents is attached.

1.0 Rental Market Indicators
Privately Initiated Apartment Structures of Three Units and Over
Provinces and Major Centres1
Vacancy Rates (%) Availability Rates (%) Average Rent Two-Bedroom ($)
(New and Existing Structures)
Percentage Change of Average Rent Two-Bedroom (2) From Fixed Sample (Existing Structures Only)
Centres Oct-13 Oct-14 Oct-13 Oct-14 Oct-13 Oct-14 Oct-12
to
Oct-13
Oct-13
to
Oct-14
Newfoundland and Labrador 10,000+ 2.7 a 4.1 a 3.2 a 5.4 a 784 a 812 a 5.2 a 3.1 b
St. John’s CMA 3.2 a 4.6 a 3.8 a 6.0 a 864 a 888 a 5.2 a 3.2 b
Prince Edward Island 10,000+ 7.1 a 5.4 a 8.2 a 6.2 a 790 a 819 a 1.2 a 0.7 a
Charlottetown CA 7.9 a 5.9 a 9.1 a 6.7 a 804 a 836 a 1.3 a 0.3 b
Nova Scotia 10,000+ 3.7 a 4.1 a 4.5 a 4.7 a 929 a 955 a 1.1 a 1.7 a
Halifax CMA 3.2 a 3.8 a 4.2 a 4.5 a 976 a 1,005 a 1.2 a 1.8 b
New Brunswick 10,000+ 8.9 a 8.0 a 9.4 a 8.6 a 715 a 735 a 1.0 a 1.2 a
Moncton CMA 9.1 a 8.7 a 9.7 a 9.1 a 742 a 762 a 2.0 a 1.2 a
Saint John CMA 11.4 a 9.0 a 12.0 a 10.0 a 691 a 714 a ++ 0.7 b
Quebec 10,000+ 3.1 a 3.7 a 3.6 a 4.1 a 699 a 711 a 1.7 b 2.0 a
Ottawa – Gatineau CMA (Que. Part) 5.1 b 6.5 b 6.0 b 7.0 b 744 a 750 a -1.6 c 2.1 c
Montréal CMA 2.8 a 3.4 a 3.2 a 3.9 a 730 a 739 a 2.0 b 2.2 a
Québec CMA 2.3 a 3.1 a 2.9 a 3.7 a 757 a 775 a 1.0 a 2.0 a
Saguenay CMA 2.8 b 4.2 b 3.4 b 4.3 b 571 a 595 a 1.9 c 2.1 c
Sherbrooke CMA 5.3 a 5.4 a 5.5 a 5.5 a 591 a 604 a 1.1 a 1.7 b
Trois-Rivières CMA 5.1 b 5.3 b 5.4 a 5.7 a 555 a 568 a 1.1 a 1.8 c
Ontario 10,000+ 2.6 a 2.3 a 4.2 a 3.8 a 1,059 a 1,086 a 2.7 a 2.1 a
Barrie CMA 3.0 b 1.6 b 4.6 a 3.2 b 1,048 a 1,118 a 1.4 a 1.5 a
Brantford CMA 2.9 b 2.4 a 4.3 b 3.2 b 835 a 855 a ++ 1.8 c
Greater Sudbury/CMA 3.4 b 4.2 b 4.7 b 5.3 b 914 a 927 a 1.4 a 1.6 c
Guelph CMA 1.9 a 1.2 a 3.3 a 2.4 a 957 a 988 a 3.3 b 3.0 a
Hamilton CMA 3.4 a 2.2 a 5.2 a 3.6 a 932 a 959 a 3.1 a 2.8 a
Kingston CMA 2.3 a 1.9 a 3.6 a 3.5 a 1,054 a 1,070 a 2.8 a 2.1 a
Kitchener – Cambridge – Waterloo CMA 2.9 a 2.3 a 4.3 a 3.8 a 952 a 975 a 3.2 a 1.6 a
London CMA 3.3 a 2.9 a 5.7 a 5.1 a 924 a 943 a 1.6 a 1.0 a
St. Catharines – Niagara CMA 4.1 a 3.6 b 6.3 a 5.7 a 872 a 892 a 2.2 a 1.6 a
Oshawa CMA 2.1 a 1.8 a 3.0 a 2.9 a 985 a 1,010 a 4.6 b 2.8 b
Ottawa – Gatineau CMA (Ont. Part) 2.9 a 2.6 a 5.1 a 4.7 a 1,132 a 1,132 a 2.0 a ++
Peterborough CMA 4.8 a 2.9 a 6.4 a 3.7 b 915 a 952 a 2.6 b 1.4 a
Thunder Bay CMA 2.6 a 2.3 a 3.5 a 3.2 a 858 a 888 a 4.6 b 3.9 c
Toronto CMA 1.6 a 1.6 a 3.2 a 3.0 a 1,213 a 1,251 a 2.9 a 2.6 a
Windsor CMA 5.9 a 4.3 a 7.0 a 5.6 a 788 a 798 a 2.0 a 1.9 b
Manitoba 10,000+ 2.4 a 2.5 a 3.9 a 3.3 a 937 a 983 a 4.6 a 4.1 a
Winnipeg CMA 2.5 a 2.5 a 4.0 a 3.4 a 969 a 1,016 a 4.8 a 4.2 b
Saskatchewan 10,000+ (3) 3.0 a 4.1 a 4.0 a 5.3 a 998 a 1,056 a 3.8 a 4.7 a
Regina CMA 1.8 a 3.0 a 2.6 a 4.4 a 1,018 a 1,079 a 3.7 a 3.0 a
Saskatoon CMA 2.7 a 3.4 a 4.1 a 5.0 a 1,041 a 1,091 a 4.0 a 4.3 a
Alberta 10,000+ (4) 1.6 a 2.1 a 2.7 a 3.1 a 1,158 a 1,238 a 6.1 a 5.7 a
Calgary CMA 1.0 a 1.4 a 2.2 a 2.7 a 1,224 a 1,322 a 7.2 a 5.9 a
Edmonton CMA 1.4 a 1.7 a 2.5 a 2.5 a 1,141 a 1,227 a 5.6 a 6.1 a
British Columbia 10,000+ 2.4 a 1.5 a 3.3 a 2.3 a 1,087 a 1,112 a 1.8 a 2.4 a
Abbotsford – Mission CMA 3.2 a 3.1 a 3.9 a 4.6 a 820 a 835 a 1.5 a 1.1 a
Kelowna CMA 1.8 a 1.0 a 2.7 a 1.7 a 970 a 980 a 1.9 b 1.6 b
Vancouver CMA 1.7 a 1.0 a 2.4 a 1.6 a 1,281 a 1,311 a 2.1 a 2.5 a
Victoria CMA 2.8 a 1.5 a 4.0 a 2.6 a 1,068 a 1,095 a 0.7 a 2.6 a
Canada CMAs(1) 2.7 a 2.8 a 3.7 a 3.7 a 920 a 941 a 2.5 a 2.5 a
Canada 10,000+ 2.9 a 3.0 a 3.9 a 3.9 a 894 a 915 a 2.5 a 2.4 a

1 Major centres refer to Census Metropolitan Areas (CMA), except for Charlottetown. For information on non-CMA centres, please see the local RMR reports.

2 The Percentage Change of Average Rent is a measure of the market movement, and is based on those structures that were common to the survey sample for both years.

3 Includes both Alberta and Saskatchewan portions of Lloydminster CA.

4 Does not include Alberta portion of Lloydminster CA. For Lloydminster CA data, refer to Saskatchewan Highlights report.

The following letter codes are used to indicate the reliability of the estimates:

a – Excellent, b – Very good, c – Good, d – Fair (Use with Caution)
** Data suppressed to protect confidentiality or data not statistically reliable.
++ Change in rent is not statistically significant. This means that the change in rent is not statistically different than zero (0).
n/u: No units exist in the universe for this category. n/s: No units exist in the sample for this category. n/a: Not applicable.

↑ indicates the year-over-year change is a statistically significant increase,
↓indicates the change is a statistically significant decrease,
while – indicates that the change is not statistically significant.