Prince Edward Island rental market tightens

    CHARLOTTETOWN, June 5 /CNW/ - Results from Canada Mortgage and Housing
Corporation's 2008 Spring Rental Market Survey(1) revealed that the vacancy
rate for urban centres in Prince Edward Island was 4.9 per cent, down from
5.7 per cent from the same period last year.
    "Lower levels of rental construction in both of the Island's urban
centres over the past few years have resulted in fewer vacancies" explained
Jason Beaton, Market Analyst with CMHC in Prince Edward Island. In April 2008,
the vacancy rate in Charlottetown fell to 5.2 per cent from 5.3 per cent a
year ago. The vacancy rate in Summerside decreased substantially to 3.6 per
cent from 7.8 per cent last April. "The overall vacancy rate should continue
to decline over the next two years as the supply of new rental units will not
match the levels set during the first part of the decade" continued Beaton.
    Average two bedroom rents in all Prince Edward Island's urban areas
experienced a moderate 2.1 per cent increase in 2008. In the Charlottetown
area, the average two bedroom rent increased to $665, compared to $598 in the
Summerside area.
    The overall availability rate(*) in Prince Edward Island's urban centres
declined to 6.5 per cent in 2008, compared to 8.5 per cent last year. The
availability rate declined in both of the province's urban centres. The
availability rate in Charlottetown declined to 7.1 per cent from 8.5 per cent,
while Summerside recorded a more dramatic decline with the availability rate
falling to 3.6 per cent from 7.8 per cent.

    (1) CMHC's Rental Market Survey is now conducted twice a year in April
        and October, to provide vacancy, availability and rent information on
        privately initiated structures in all centres over 10,000 population
        across Canada. Reports are released in June and December.

    The spring survey covers apartment and row structures containing at least
three rental units, and unlike the fall survey does not report information on:

    1. Smaller geographic zones within centres
    2. Secondary rental market (rented condominium apartments, single
       detached, semi-detached, duplexes or accessory apartments).

    In our analysis, we have 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 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.
    To the extent that these types of seasonal variations exist, comparing
results from the spring and fall Rental Market Surveys could lead to incorrect
conclusions about trends in rental market conditions.

    (*) A rental unit is considered available if it is vacant or the existing
tenant has given or has received notice to move, and a new tenant has not
signed a lease. In other words, an available unit is one for which a lease can
be signed by a new tenant, whether the unit is occupied or not. Because the
availability rate includes vacant units, the availability rate for a given
area will never be lower than the vacancy rate for that particular area.


                                                                 Average 2
                                                               Bedroom Rent
                        Vacancy Rate      Availablity Rate          ($)
    Centre                 Total               Total               Total
                     Apr-07    Apr-08    Apr-07    Apr-08    Apr-07    Apr-08
    Charlottetown CA    5,3       5,2       8,5       7,1      $653      $665
    Summerside CA       7,8       3,6       7,8       3,6      $578      $598
    Prince Edward
     Island 10,000+     5,7       4,9       8,4       6,5      $640      $653

For further information:

For further information: Jason Beaton, Market Analyst, (506) 851-6047,

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