Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

June 12, 2012 08:32 ET

CMHC Spring 2012 Rental Market Survey

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - June 12, 2012) - According to the Spring Rental Market Survey conducted by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the average vacancy rate for privately initiated structures with three units or more was 2.2 per cent in April in urban areas (10,000 inhabitants or more) of Quebec. The decline, of 0.2 points over the same period last year, was not statistically significant.

This result is largely due to the influence of the census metropolitan area (CMA) of Montreal – which represents two-thirds of Quebec's rental stock - but also to other areas of the province.

With the exception of the Saguenay region, the survey reveals no significant movements of magnitude at the CMA level. With respect to other urban areas, the survey reported a slightly higher rate (2.8 per cent) in urban areas of 10,000 to 49,999 inhabitants and a rate of 3.1 per cent for agglomerations 50,000 to 99,999 inhabitants (see table).

Again this year, the market profile according to the unit size remains fairly uniform across the province and has not changed much in recent years: the market is tighter in the segment of large apartments. Indeed, the vacancy rate is significantly lower for apartments with two and three bedrooms (2.0 per cent and 1.6 per cent respectively) than for the bachelor units (3.7 per cent). However, even if rates have not significantly changed since last spring, the gap between these segments is reduced.

The average rent is estimated at $677 for two bedroom apartments. With regard to the CMAs, the average rent ranges between $543 and $731. As for other urban areas the average rent is situated at the lower end of this interval. The picture of rents by unit size is in line with their relative availability. The survey often shows that the average rent climbing by about $100 with the addition of a bedroom.

"Again this year, the relative stability of vacancy rates across the province reflects unchanged levels of supply and demand. On the supply side, no significant increase has been observed, as developers prefer the condominium market segment. On the demand side strong immigration levels were offset by weaker youth employment, " explains Kevin Hughes, Regional Economist at CMHC for Quebec.

Like the province, the same key factors have resulted in a stable vacancy rate in Greater Montreal: it went from 2.5 per cent in April 2011 to 2.2 per cent in April 2012. The large Apartments are the most popular. Indeed, the vacancy rate for bachelor units was higher (3.9 per cent) than that observed in homes with a larger number of rooms (2.2 per cent for one-bedroom, 2.0 per cent for those two bedrooms and 1.2 per cent for three-bedrooms). For its part, the average rent for two bedroom units came in at $708 in April 2012.

In the Québec CMA, the vacancy rate remained stable as well this spring. It stood at 0.7 per cent. It is also the case for one-bedroom units or more. However, the bachelor market segment has tightened, as the vacancy dropped from 3.0 per cent in spring 2011 to 0.9 per cent in April this year. However, there will likely be more movement this year as the availability rate rose to 4 per cent, which means that on average four out of 100 were apartments available for rent in April, compared to 2.8, the previous year. The average monthly rent for a two bedroom apartment reached $725 this spring.

The vacancy rate has remained relatively stable in the Gatineau region between 2011 and 2012 (from 2.2 to 2.1 per cent this year). This result also reflects the situation by unit size, where the proportion of unoccupied dwellings has remained virtually unchanged. This stability of the rental market due to the fact that supply and demand of rental apartments experienced a similar increase during the past year. While the stock of rental units progressed about 2 per cent, as demand continued to be fuelled by the many newcomers in the region.

In the Sherbrooke area, the vacancy rate stood at 3.6 per cent this spring. It remained virtually unchanged from the previous year (3.7 per cent in April 2011). This is the second highest CMA vacancy rate after Trois-Rivières. In addition, the availability rate stood at 8 per cent, the highest of the CMA, indicating that a higher proportion of renters said they will not renew their lease. The average rent went from $577 to $581 in April 2012. Since the vacancy rate is higher in recent years, it is not surprising to observe a slowdown of rental rates.

The situation of the rental market has remained stable in the Trois-Rivières (vacancy rate of 3.8 per cent). In April 2012, the larger dwellings are those that exhibited relatively tighter conditions. Thus, the vacancy rate Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation 3 Rental Market Report - Québec Highlights - Date Released - Spring 2012 reached 2.6 per cent for 3-bedroom apartments and more, 3.7 per cent for two-bedroom apartments and 4.4 per cent for one bedroom apartments. The rent increases were a reflection of these less tight conditions. In April 2012, the estimated change in the average rent was well established at 1.9 per cent. The average rent for two bedroom apartments was $543 in the CMA.

Going from 1.9 per cent in the springof 2011 to 0.7 per cent this year, the vacancy rate in the region of Saguenay is the only one to record a significant change. The category of one-bedroom apartments was the only one to display some availability. This situation is observable in all market segments and is attributable to a relatively strong demand from young workers and retirees. The supply side was limited by a sharp slowdown in construction since 2010. As for the average rent, it stood at $553 for two bedroom apartments. A recent increase in housing starts will reduce the tension in this market.

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.

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

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Private Apartment Vacancy Rates (%)
by Bedroom Type
Québec - CMAs
Centre Bachelor 1 Bedroom 2 Bedroom 3 Bedroom + Total
Apr-11 Apr-12 Apr-11 Apr-12 Apr-11 Apr-12 Apr-11 Apr-12 Apr-11 Apr-12
Ottawa-Gatineau CMA (Qué. part) 2.1 c 2.5 c 2.6 b 2.5 b 2.1 b 2.1 b 2.0 c 1.6 c 2.2 a 2.1 a
Montréal CMA 6.2 c 3.9 c 2.5 b 2.2 a 1.9 b 2.0 b 1.0 a 1.2 a 2.5 a 2.2 a
Québec CMA 3.0 c 0.9 d 1.1 a 1.0 a 0.8 a 0.6 a 0.6 b 0.7 b 1.0 a 0.7 a
Saguenay CMA ** ** 3.4 c 1.2 a 1.3 a 0.3 b 1.5 a 0.0 c 1.9 b 0.7 a
Sherbrooke CMA 4.9 d 3.7 d 3.2 c 3.6 c 3.9 b 3.7 c 3.2 c 3.4 c 3.7 b 3.6 b
Trois-Rivières CMA ** ** 4.3 c 4.4 c 4.0 c 3.7 c 3.7 d 2.6 c 4.2 b 3.8 b
Québec CMAs 5.9 c 3.6 c 2.5 a 2.2 a 1.9 a 1.9 a 1.3 a 1.4 a 2.4 a 2.1 a
Québec CA 50,000-99,999 ** ** 3.0 b 3.9 b 2.5 a 2.4 a 2.6 b 3.1 c 2.9 a 3.1 b
Québec CA 10,000-49,999 4.5 b 4.2 b 3.2 a 3.6 a 2.2 a 2.5 a 1.8 a 2.3 a 2.5 a 2.8 a
Québec 10,000+ 5.9 c 3.7 c 2.5 a 2.3 a 2.0 a 2.0 a 1.4 a 1.6 b 2.4 a 2.2 a

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)

(ii) Data suppressed to protect confidentiality or data not statistically reliable.

n/u: No units exist in the universe for this category n/s: No units exists in the sample for this category n/a: Not applicable

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