Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

June 15, 2010 08:15 ET

CMHC: National Rental Vacancy Rate Edges Higher

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 15, 2010) - The average rental apartment vacancy rate in Canada's 35 major centres(1) 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(2) 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).

As Canada's national housing agency, CMHC draws on more than 60 years of experience to help Canadians access a variety of high quality, environmentally sustainable and affordable homes. 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 vital decisions.

(1) Major 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 spring survey covers apartment and row structures containing at least three rental units, and unlike the fall survey does not report information on:    
a. Smaller geographic zones within centres
b. Secondary rental market (rented condominium apartments, single detached, semi-detached, duplexes or accessory apartments).

The full text of this press release is available on the internet at

To access CMHC's 2010 reports on the rental market select from the links below:

- Rental Market Report – Canada Highlights ( – containing at a glance rental market information for Canada's 35 major centres

- Rental Market Report – Provincial Highlights ( – providing a summary of rental market statistics for urban centres with populations of 10,000 and more in each province and Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

- Rental Market Statistics Report ( - a sourcebook of statistical tables with national, provincial and local rental housing market data

Note: A table of vacancy rates, availability rates and rents is available on the Marketwire website at the following address:

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