Rental vacancy rates are lowest in Alberta and British Columbia due to strong population growth

    OTTAWA, June 6 /CNW Telbec/ - The average rental apartment vacancy rate
in Canada's 35 major centres(1) was 2.8 per cent in April 2007, according to
the new spring Rental Market Survey released today by Canada Mortgage and
Housing Corporation (CMHC).
    "Thanks to strong employment growth, solid income gains, and high
immigration levels, the Canadian economy remains very supportive of strong
demand for both ownership and rental housing," said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist
at CMHC's Market Analysis Centre. "Generally speaking, vacancy rates were
lowest in Alberta (0.9 per cent) and British Columbia (1.1 per cent). The
economic expansion experienced in western provinces is attracting workers from
Central and Atlantic Canada. Upon their arrival, many of these people settle
in rental housing, which has put downward pressure on vacancy rates in major
centres in Alberta and British Columbia."
    The new April Rental Market Survey(2) is part of CMHC's new suite of
enhanced surveys and analytical reports. From now on, CMHC will be releasing
rental market information twice a year in June and December as opposed to only
in December. The new spring survey will enable all market participants to
benefit from more timely information on market trends.
    In October 2006, the vacancy rate was 2.6 per cent nationally, however,
due to potential seasonality between the fall and the spring, which could
affect rental market conditions, caution should be taken when comparing the
October and April vacancy rates.(3)
    The results of this new spring survey reveal that the major centres with
the lowest vacancy rates in April 2007 were Calgary (0.5 per cent), Abbotsford
(0.6 per cent), Kelowna (0.7 per cent), and Victoria (0.8 per cent). All the
major centres in British Columbia posted a vacancy rate below one per cent as
the province's increasing population and the continued relatively high
homeownership costs have propped up rental demand.
    At the other end of the spectrum, the major urban centres with the
highest vacancy rates were Windsor (11.6 per cent), Moncton (6.1 per cent),
Saint John (NB) (5.7 per cent), Thunder Bay (5.5 per cent), and Charlottetown
(5.3 per cent).
    The highest average monthly rents for two-bedroom apartments in Canada's
major centres were in Toronto ($1,073), Vancouver ($1,051), and Calgary
($1,037). Of all the major centres, these three were the only ones with
average rents above $1,000. The lowest average monthly rents for two-bedroom
apartments were in Trois-Rivières ($482) and Saguenay ($491).
    "Interestingly, the highest average rents were not in one of Canada's
major centres, but in the northern Alberta community of Wood Buffalo, where
the average monthly two-bedroom rent was $1,681," said Mr. Dugan. "Strong
economic growth due to activity in the oil sands in Wood Buffalo has attracted
workers from other parts of the country and has driven up demand for rental
    CMHC's spring Rental Market Survey found that the average rental
apartment availability rate in Canada's 35 major centres was 5.4 per cent in
April 2007. A rental unit is considered available if the unit is vacant
(physically unoccupied and ready for immediate rental), or if the existing
tenant has given or received notice to move and a new tenant has not signed a
lease. Availability rates were highest in Windsor (15.0 per cent), Saguenay
(8.8 per cent), and Charlottetown (8.5 per cent), while the lowest rates were
in Kelowna (0.8 per cent), Vancouver (1.6 per cent), Calgary and Edmonton
(both 1.8 per cent).
    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.

    The full text of this press release is available on the internet at

    To access CMHC's 2007 reports on the rental market select from the links

    - <a
	 href="">Rental Market Report - Canada Highlights</a> - containing at a glance
      rental market information for Canada's 35 major centres
    - <a
	 href="">Rental Market Report - Provincial Highlights</a> - providing a summary of
      rental market statistics for urban centres with a population of over
      10,000 in each province and Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
    - <a
	 href="">Rental Market Statistics Report</a> - a sourcebook of statistical tables
      with national, provincial and local rental housing market data

    Note: A table of vacancy rates, availability rates and rents is attached.

                       (Aussi disponible en français)

    (1) Major centres are based on Statistics Canada Census Metropolitan
        Areas (CMAs) with the exception of the Ottawa-Gatineau CMA which is
        treated as two centres for Rental Market Survey purposes and
        Charlottetown which is a Census Agglomeration (CA).

    (2) 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).

    (3) In our analysis, we have avoided making comparisons between the
        results of the April 2007 rental market survey and the October 2006
        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.  To avoid this, we have limited our analysis to the
        results of our spring 2007 Rental Market Survey and comparing these
        results for different centres across Canada.  In spring 2008, when we
        have results from our second spring Rental Market Survey, we will be
        able to extend our analysis to make year over year comparisons.

                                       Vacancy    Availability  Average Rent
                                         Rate         Rate       Two-Bedroom
                                          (%)          (%)            ($)
                                      April 2007    April 2007    April 2007
    Newfoundland & Labrador               4.2           4.8           560
    St. John's                            4.6           5.3           602
    Prince Edward Island                  5.7           8.4           640
    Charlottetown CA                      5.3           8.5           653
    Nova Scotia                           3.8           4.7           757
    Halifax                               3.6           4.6           793
    New Brunswick                         6.0           6.7           610
    Moncton                               6.1           6.8           631
    Saint John                            5.7           6.7           568
    Quebec                                2.4           5.8           603
    Gatineau                              2.8           4.2           654
    Montréal                              2.9           6.3           630
    Québec                                0.9           4.6           638
    Saguenay                              3.3           8.8           491
    Sherbrooke                            1.6           5.2           529
    Trois-Rivières                        1.0           3.6           482
    Ontario                               3.9           6.4           921
    Barrie                                3.5           6.0           929
    Brantford                             2.1           3.3           735
    Guelph                                3.2           6.1           838
    Greater Sudbury                       0.9           2.2           723
    Hamilton                              4.3           7.4           802
    Kingston                              4.1           7.8           839
    Kitchener                             4.0           7.0           839
    London                                3.7           7.1           795
    St. Catharines-Niagara                3.9           6.9           760
    Oshawa                                3.9           5.5           867
    Ottawa                                2.2           5.3           961
    Peterborough                          3.5           6.6           815
    Thunder Bay                           5.5           6.7           693
    Toronto                               4.0           6.4         1,073
    Windsor                              11.6          15.0           769
    Manitoba                              1.4           2.2           715
    Winnipeg                              1.2           2.0           733
    Saskatchewan                          3.2           5.1           619
    Regina                                2.7           4.1           636
    Saskatoon                             3.0           6.3           626
    Alberta                               0.9           2.0           932
    Calgary                               0.5           1.8         1,037
    Edmonton                              1.1           1.8           877
    British Columbia                      1.1           2.2           894
    Abbotsford                            0.6           3.0           700
    Kelowna                               0.7           0.8           817
    Vancouver                             0.9           1.6         1,051
    Victoria                              0.8           3.4           892
    Canada CMAs(1)                        2.8           5.4           784
    Canada (10,000 +)                     2.8           5.3           761
    (1) Weighted average of Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs). Charlottetown,
        which is a Census Agglomeration, is not included.

For further information:

For further information: Kristen Scheel, CMHC, (613) 748-4632,

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