CMHC spring 2008 rental market survey: a rather stable situation in Quebec

    MONTREAL, June 5 /CNW Telbec/ - According to the spring rental market
survey conducted by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the
average vacancy rate of private buildings comprising three units or more was
2.5% in urban centres in Quebec. This result, which represents a stability
compared to the rate observed during the same period last year (2.4 per cent),
is emblematic of the overall situation of centres with population of 100 000
inhabitants and more (Census Metropolitan Areas, or CMA).
    As for other urban areas (10 000 centres in 99 999 inhabitants), although
the survey shows an almost identical result (2.4 per cent), it represents a
certain easing when compared to that of the spring of 2007 (between 1.5 and
1.9 per cent). Moreover, market situations in these areas are more variable.
    "In most major regions, supply and demand for rental housing have
remained relatively stable over the last year," stated Kevin Hughes,
Provincial Economist at CMHC.
    "The picture of the market according to apartment size is fairly uniform
across the province and has not changed since the last survey: the market is
tighter in the case of larger apartments. Regarding the availability rate, the
results are variable." added Kevin Hughes.
    When compared to last spring's result, the vacancy rate has remained
stable in the Montreal CMA (2.9 per cent to 2.8 per cent in 2008). Few rental
units were added to the market and demand remained strong, allowing the
Montreal rental market to remain stable. Employment among young people ant net
migration returned to growth mode in the second half of 2007, thereby
supporting the rental demand.
    A similar situation prevailed in the Quebec City area, where the vacancy
rate rose from 0.9 per cent to 1.1 per cent. On the supply side, the market
remained very tight given the low construction of traditional rental housing.
In addition, the area's economy (including a significant creation of part-time
jobs) and net interregional migration remained conducive to rental demand.
    As for the Saguenay CMA, the vacancy rate was down more than one point
(3.3% to 1.8% in 2008). On the supply side, few houses are listed for sale,
thus turning households toward the traditional rental market. Moreover, the
fact that few units in retirement homes were available has meant that many
seniors are moving toward the traditional rental market. On the demand side,
the economic climate has allowed the region to retain more workers in outlying
    According to the survey, a slight increase was observed in the
Trois-Rivières area (1.0% to 1.3% in 2008). On the supply side, there have
been many starts of rental units during the last 3-4 years. On an annual
basis, about half of housing starts were for the rental market. Meanwhile,
rental demand has been sustained by strong migration to the region.
    The Sherbrooke CMA recorded a slight increase in the vacancy rate (1.6%
to 2.1% in 2008). Increased rental supply and less robust youth employment are
the principle causes. However, the arrival of a hundred more immigrants in the
region of Sherbrooke in 2008 contributed to demand.
    Finally, an easing of the rental market was also recorded in the Gatineau
area (2.8% to 4.1% in 2008). Despite relatively stable rental market
conditions, increased supply in some market segments was sufficient to
increase the vacancy rate.


    In our analysis, we have deliberately avoided making comparisons between
the results of the April 2008 rental market survey and the October 2007
survey. A key reason for this is that changes in rents, vacancy rates, and
availability rates between the spring and the fall may not be solely
attributable to changes in rental market conditions; they could also reflect
seasonal factors. For example, if more people tend to move in the spring than
in the fall, it could have an impact on both vacancy and availability rates,
as well as the level of rents. Alternatively, in centres where there are a
significant number of university students, vacancy and availability rates
could be higher in the spring if students move home for the summer.

    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 or call 1-800-668-2642.

                          AND OVER IN MAJOR CENTRES

                                     Vacancy Rate (%)   Availability Rate (%)

                              April 2007  April 2008  April 2007  April 2008

    PROVINCE                         2.4         2.5         5.8         5.6
    Montréal                         2.9         2.8         6.3         5.8
    Québec                           0.9         1.1         4.6         5.1
    Ottawa-Gatineau (Que.)           2.8         4.1         4.2         4.5
    Sherbrooke                       1.6         2.1         5.2         5.4
    Trois-Rivières                   1.0         1.3         3.6         4.0
    Saguenay                         3.3         1.8         8.8         5.6

For further information:

For further information: Province: Kevin Hughes, Senior Economist CMHC,
(514) 283-4488; Montréal: Sandra Girard, Senior Market Analyst, (514)
283-5075; Québec: Frédéric Brie, Market Analyst, (418) 649-8102; Gatineau
(Outaouais, Abitibi): Patrice Tardif, Market Analyst, (514) 283-2097;
Sherbrooke (Estrie): Francis Cortellino, Market Analyst, (514) 283-8391;
Trois-Rivières (Mauricie): Marie-Elaine Denis, Market Analyst, (418) 649-8100;
Saguenay: Frédéric Brie, Market Analyst, (418) 649-8102

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