Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

December 09, 2010 08:15 ET

CMHC: National Rental Vacancy Rate Edges Lower

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 9, 2010) - The average rental apartment vacancy rate in Canada's 35 major centres(1) decreased slightly to 2.6 per cent in October 2010, from 2.8 per cent in October 2009, according to the fall Rental Market Survey (2) released today by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

"The economic recovery that has taken place over the past year has boosted demand for both rental and ownership housing," said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist at CMHC's Market Analysis Centre. "High levels of immigration have supported demand for rental housing, thus pushing the vacancy rate lower. In addition, improving economic conditions have likely boosted household formation which, in turn, has added to the demand for rental housing. These two factors combined, have put downward pressure on the vacancy rate."

The results of CMHC's fall survey reveal that, in October 2010, the major centres with the lowest vacancy rates were in Winnipeg (0.8 per cent), Regina, Kingston and Québec (1.0 per cent each). At a provincial level, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador posted the lowest vacancy rates at 0.9 per cent and 1.0 per cent, respectively.

The survey reveals that the major centres with the highest vacancy rates were Windsor (10.9 per cent), Abbotsford (6.5 per cent), Saint John (5.1 per cent), and London (5.0 per cent). On a provincial basis, the highest vacancy rates were in Alberta (4.6 per cent) and New Brunswick (4.5 per cent).

The Canadian average two-bedroom rent was up from $836 in 2009 to $860 in 2010. The highest average monthly rents were in Vancouver ($1,195), Toronto ($1,123), Calgary ($1,069), Ottawa-Gatineau (Ontario part, $1,048), Victoria ($1,024), and Edmonton ($1,015). Of all the major centres, only these six had average rents at or above $1,000. The lowest average monthly rents for two-bedroom apartments in new and existing structures were in Trois-Rivières ($533), Saguenay ($535), and Sherbrooke ($566).

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. By excluding new structures and focussing on structures existing in both the October 2009 and October 2010 surveys, this provides a better indication of actual rent increases paid by tenants. Overall, the average rent for two-bedroom apartments in existing structures across Canada's 35 major centres increased 2.4 per cent between October 2009 and October 2010, a similar pace of rent increase to what was observed between October 2008 and October 2009 (2.3 per cent).

CMHC's fall Rental Market Survey also found that the rental apartment availability rate in Canada's 35 major centres was 3.8 per cent in October 2010, down from 4.1 per cent in October 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 (12.5 per cent), Abbottsford (7.7 per cent), London (7.4 per cent) and Hamilton (6.8 per cent). The lowest availability rates were in Québec (1.2 per cent), Winnipeg and St. John's (1.4 per cent), and Regina (1.5 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 informed decisions.

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 attached.

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

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 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) Secondary rental market (rented condominium apartments, single detached, semi-detached, duplexes or accessory apartments).

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