Vacancy rate up slightly in the Montréal CMA



    MONTREAL, Dec. 13 /CNW Telbec/ - According to the results of the Rental
Market Survey conducted by CMHC in October 2007, the vacancy rate in the
Montréal census metropolitan area (CMA) was up very slightly over the level
recorded at the same time in 2006. The percentage of unoccupied apartments in
privately initiated buildings with three or more housing units reached
2.9 per cent this past October, compared to 2.7 per cent in October 2006. This
sixth consecutive vacancy rate increase in the Montréal CMA was one of the
smallest since the low point recorded in 2001.
    Rental housing demand stayed strong in the Montréal CMA, despite the fact
that changes in certain factors significant to rental housing demand were
pointing to a more pronounced slowdown in this demand. In short, the
relatively weak labour market this year for people aged under 25 years, the
fact that migration has decreased(1) from last year and the strong
homeownership trend, as evidenced by the vigorous housing market activity, all
contributed to cooling rental housing demand. "However, the youth employment
level still remains high and, in the third quarter of 2007, employment posted
some renewed growth after having experienced difficulties during the first
part of the year. Also, while net migration is expected to decrease, the level
will remain positive," said Sandra Girard, Senior Market Analyst at CMHC.
    While rental unit completions continued to grow in the Montréal
metropolitan area, the overall Montréal area rental housing stock still
decreased from last year. In fact, a number of rental housing projects sampled
no longer met the survey criteria and were therefore withdrawn. "In addition
to a rental housing demand that remained strong, supply was slightly less
abundant, which, to a certain extent, limited the increase in the vacancy rate
in the Montréal area," explained Ms. Girard.
    Even though the vacancy rates rose in all rent ranges, market conditions
eased more significantly in the highest range ($900 or over). The vacancy rate
in this range reached 4.5 per cent this past October, compared to 3.0 per cent
a year earlier, for an increase of 1.5 percentage points, while, in the other
rent ranges, the increases were clearly more modest, at less than 0.5 of a
percentage point.
    Compared to October 2006, the vacancy rates rose more significantly in
Laval and on the South Shore, while they practically did not budge on the
Island of Montréal or the North Shore. In fact, these rates rose by 0.7 of a
percentage point to 2.7 per cent in Laval and by 0.6 of a percentage point to
2.6 per cent on the South Shore. On the Island of Montréal and North Shore,
the rates reached 3.1 per cent and 1.3 per cent, respectively.
    This past October, the average rent for two-bedroom apartments was
$647 per month and the estimated increase in the average rent of two-bedroom
apartments in existing structures was slightly smaller than last year, at
2.3 per cent, compared to 2.8 per cent in 2006. It should be noted that CMHC
now uses a measure (introduced last year) that estimates the change in rents
charged in existing structures. This measure therefore excludes the impact of
new structures and conversions added to the universe between surveys.
    Rental condominiums also registered a vacancy rate hike, which was
greater than the increase recorded for traditional rental housing. This past
October, the vacancy rate for rental condominiums reached 3.8 per cent,
compared to 2.8 per cent in October 2006, for a gain of one percentage point.
This relatively high vacancy rate was particularly attributable to the fact
that rental condominium apartments are expensive in comparison with
traditional apartments.

    Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has been Canada's national
housing agency for more than 60 years. CMHC is committed to helping Canadians
access a wide choice of quality, affordable homes, while making vibrant,
healthy communities and cities a reality across the country. For more
information, visit www.cmhc.ca or call 1-800-668-2642.

    (1) According to CMHC forecasts

    A tables is attcahed.

    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                     Private Apartment Vacancy Rates (%)
                           by Zone and Bedroom Type
                                 Montréal CMA
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Zone              Bachelor   1 Bedroom  2 Bedroom  3 Bedroom +    Total
                      -------------------------------------------------------
                      Oct- Oct-  Oct- Oct-  Oct- Oct-   Oct- Oct-   Oct- Oct-
                       06   07    06   07    06   07     06   07     06   07
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Montréal Island   4.5  5.0   3.4  3.5   2.5  2.5    2.1  2.3    3.0  3.1
    Laval             4.6  5.2   3.6  3.6   1.2  2.1    0.8  2.8    2.0  2.7
    North-Shore       4.4  2.5   1.2  1.5   0.8  1.2    1.9  0.9    1.2  1.3
    South-Shore       1.9  3.3   2.2  3.1   2.0  2.4    1.8  2.3    2.0  2.6
    Vaudreuil-
     Soulanges        0.0  4.9   0.0  0.0   0.5  0.9    0.0  0.0    0.4  0.9
    Montréal CMA      4.4  4.8   3.3  3.4   2.2  2.3    2.0  2.2    2.7  2.9
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------



    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                     Private Apartment Average Rents ($)
                           by Zone and Bedroom Type
                                 Montréal CMA
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Zone              Bachelor   1 Bedroom  2 Bedroom  3 Bedroom +    Total
                      Oct- Oct-  Oct- Oct-  Oct- Oct-   Oct- Oct-   Oct- Oct-
                       06   07    06   07    06   07     06   07     06   07
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Montréal Island   485  494   579  589   645  661    804  851    619  639
    Laval             451  449   565  553   616  614    738  722    613  611
    North-Shore       393  421   484  486   588  586    667  690    573  583
    South-Shore       446  443   569  552   625  627    717  698    622  617
    Vaudreuil-
     Soulanges        360  360   465  469   600  607    720  675    591  599
    Montréal CMA      481  490   574  581   636  647    775  806    616  632
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Source: CMHC
    




For further information:

For further information: Sandra Girard, Senior Market Analyst, (514)
283-5075, sgirard@cmhc.ca


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