Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

December 14, 2006 08:15 ET

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation: Apartment Vacancy Rate Lowest Since 1989

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - Dec. 14, 2006) - Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's October 2006 Rental Market Survey indicates that the average apartment vacancy rate dropped to 0.7 per cent, from 1.4 per cent in 2005. "Robust demand for rental accommodation and a lack of rental supply has pushed the vacancy rate down to the lowest level since 1989," said Bryan Yu, a Market Analyst with CMHC. "Continued in-migration, high home prices, and lengthened completion times for new condominium units have maintained demand at high levels, in turn yielding an average rent increase of 4.4 per cent," Yu added.

The average vacancy rate in the City of Vancouver fell to 0.3 per cent in 2006 from 0.7 per cent in 2005. In Burnaby and Richmond, the average vacancy rates fell to 0.8 and 2.4 per cent, respectively. Surrey recorded a decline from 4.7 per cent in 2005 to 2.9 per cent in 2006.

Similar trends were observed in Abbotsford CMA, where the average vacancy rate dropped nearly two percentage points from 3.8 per cent in 2005 to 2.0 per cent in 2006, stopping the recent trend of rising vacancy rates observed since 2002. Strong demand was experienced for all bedroom types.

With the vacancy rate falling to its lowest level in more than a decade and robust demand, landlords secured higher rents in October 2006 compared to October 2005. By excluding the impact of new structures built since the last survey and conversions from the calculation, we can get a better indication of the rent increase in existing structures. For the Vancouver CMA, the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in existing structures increased by 4.4 per cent in October 2006 compared to a year ago.

With the release of its 2006 Rental Market Survey, CMHC has broadened its coverage of the rental market to include apartment condominiums offered for rent in the following centres: Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec. In 2006, vacancy rates for rental condominium apartments were below one per cent in five of the seven centres surveyed. Rental condominiums in Vancouver and Toronto had the lowest vacancy rate at 0.4 per cent. On the other hand, Quebec and Montreal registered the highest vacancy rates for condominium apartments at 1.2 per cent and 2.8 per cent in 2006, respectively. The survey showed that vacancy rates for rental condominium apartments in 2006 were lower than vacancy rates in the conventional rental market in all the surveyed centres, except Montreal and Calgary. The highest average monthly rents for two-bedroom condominium apartments were in Toronto ($1,487), Vancouver ($1,273), and Calgary ($1,257). All surveyed centres posted average monthly rents for two-bedroom condominium apartments that were higher than average monthly rents for two-bedroom private apartments in the conventional rental market in 2006.

In Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, the scope of CMHC's Rental Market Survey was further extended to gather information on monthly rents in dwelling types(i) other than private apartments and condominium apartments such as duplexes and accessory apartments. The results showed that the average monthly rent for a two-bedroom unit in the secondary rental market was lower than the average rent in both the conventional and condominium apartment markets in Montreal and Vancouver. In Toronto, the average monthly rent for a two-bedroom unit in the secondary rental market was slightly higher than in the conventional rental market.

A third enhancement starting in 2007, is that CMHC will be conducting a rental market survey in the spring, in addition to the one conducted in the fall. The results of the spring survey will be published in June and will provide centre-level information on key rental market indicators such as vacancy rates and average rents.

(i) CMHC's October Rental Market Survey, which covers private row and apartment structures with three or more units, is being expanded to include information on the secondary rental market. More specifically, for the Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal CMAs, the following types of units are now surveyed:

- rented single-detached houses;

- rented double (semi-detached) houses;

- rented freehold row/town houses;

- rented duplex apartments;

- rented accessory apartments;

- rented apartments which are part of a commercial or other type of structure containing one or two dwelling units.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has been Canada's national housing agency for over 60 years. CMHC contributes to improving the living conditions and the well-being of Canadians through four areas of housing activities - housing finance, assisted housing, research and information transfer, and export promotion. CMHC is committed to helping Canadians access a wide choice of quality, affordable homes, and making vibrant and sustainable communities and cities a reality across the country. For more information, visit or call 1 800 668-2642.

Preliminary numbers are summarized on the attached tables. To view the tables accompanying this press release please click on the following link:

(Ce document existe egalement en francais)

Contact Information

  • Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
    Bryan Yu
    Market Analyst
    (604) 737-4008