OTTAWA, Jan. 15, 2020 /CNW/ - The national vacancy rate for rental apartment units declined in 2019 for a third consecutive year to 2.2%, its lowest level for all-bedroom types since 2002, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's (CMHC) Rental Market Survey (RMS)released today.
"The national vacancy rate for purpose-built rental apartments declined for a third consecutive year in 2019, as strong rental demand continued to outpace growth in supply," said Bob Dugan, CMHC's chief economist. "Low vacancy rates in major centres underscore the need for increased rental supply to ensure access to affordable housing."
CMHC conducts the RMS annually in October to gauge how economic, demographic and other factors impact Canada's rental markets. The survey is based on purpose-built structures with three or more rental units in urban areas with populations of over 10,000.
CMHC also surveys the secondary rental condominium apartment market in September in 17 major centres. Information on the number of condominium apartment units being rented out, the vacancy and rents is collected.
Highlights in vacancy rates for the purpose-built market
The national vacancy rate for purpose-built rental apartment units declined for a third year in 2019 to 2.2% down from 2.4% in 2018 for all-bedroom types.
Rental demand remains elevated in Vancouver (1.1%) and Toronto (1.5%) with vacancy rates in these markets remaining amongst the lowest in Canada in 2019.
The Montréal Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) vacancy rate reached a 15-year low (1.5%), driving the national decline. The vacancy rate also declined in Halifax (1.0%).
Vacancy rates in most other CMAs remained stable, including the major prairie markets of Calgary (3.9%), Regina (7.8%), and Winnipeg (3.1%).
Highlights in average rents for the purpose-built market
Nationally, tighter rental markets were accompanied by strong rent growth, with average rents increasing by 3.9% for a two-bedroom apartment between October 2018 and October 2019. This is the fastest pace of same-sample rent growth since October 2001.
The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment unit increased in Vancouver (4.9%), Montréal (3.4%), Calgary (2.2%) Toronto (6.1%) and Halifax (3.7%). While Vancouver was the only one of these CMAs to register a slowdown in the pace of rent growth in 2019, it remains above the national average.
The average two-bedroom apartment rent was highest in Vancouver($1,748) and Toronto($1,562). Calgary($1,305) and Halifax($1,202) remained above the national average, while Montréal ($855) continued to exemplify the relatively lower rent levels generally seen in the province of Quebec.
Highlights for secondary rental condominium apartment market
The average vacancy rate for rental condominium apartments across surveyed centres declined to 1.0% from 1.4%. This decline comes despite strong growth in the supply of rental condominium units since 2018 and is lower than the vacancy rate for purpose-built rentals.
Vancouver (0.3%), Calgary (0.9%) and Toronto (0.8%) reported vacancy rates below the national average.
Average two-bedroom condominium apartment rent levels were highest in Toronto($2,476), Vancouver($2,045) and Hamilton($1,896).
Rental markets reports and data tables are available for CMAs across Canada on the CMHC website.
As Canada's housing market experts, CMHC supports decision making on housing affordability and contributes to the stability of housing markets. CMHC provides support for Canadians in housing need, and offers objective housing research and information to Canadian governments, consumers and the housing industry.