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Canada’s Rental Vacancy Rate Increases

OTTAWA, June 20, 2013 — The average rental apartment vacancy rate in Canada’s 35 major centres1 increased to 2.7 per cent in April 2013, from 2.3 per cent in April 2012, according to the spring Rental Market Survey2 released today by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

“While demand for rental units remains high, substitutes to purpose-built rental market units, such as rented condominiums, have taken some of the overall demand for rental units,” said Mathieu Laberge, Deputy Chief Economist at CMHC’s Market Analysis Centre. “Sustained demand for rental housing from net migration was partly offset by moderating employment growth, notably for young workers aged 20 to 24.”

The results of CMHC’s spring survey reveal that the major centres with the lowest vacancy rates in April 2013 were Edmonton and Calgary (1.2 per cent each) and St. John’s (1.5 per cent). The major centres with the highest vacancy rates were Saint John (10.4 per cent), Charlottetown (8.7 per cent) and Moncton (7.4 per cent).

The Canadian average two-bedroom rent in new and existing structures was $911 in April 2013. With respect to the census metropolitan areas, the highest average monthly rents for two-bedroom apartments were in Vancouver ($1,255), Toronto ($1,202) and Calgary ($1,202). The lowest average monthly rents for two-bedroom apartments were in Saguenay ($560), Trois-Rivières ($562) and Sherbrooke ($586).

Overall, the average rent for two-bedroom apartments in existing structures across Canada’s 35 major centres increased by 2.7 per cent between April 2012 and April 2013, this compared to 2.2 per cent in the previous year. The major centres with the largest increase in fixed sample average rent were Calgary (7.2 per cent), St. John’s (5.5 per cent) and Regina (4.7 per cent). 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 April 2012 and April 2013 surveys provides a better indication of actual rent increases paid by tenants.

As Canada’s national housing agency, CMHC draws on more than 65 years of experience to help Canadians access a variety of high quality, environmentally sustainable and affordable housing solutions. CMHC also provides reliable, impartial and up-to-date housing market reports, analysis and knowledge to support and assist consumers and the housing industry in making informed decisions.

Follow CMHC on Twitter @CMHC_ca

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