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Apartment vacancy rates rise in Canada

Finding a rental apartment in major Canadian cities is slightly easier than last year. Canada Mortgage and Housing reports the vacancy rate rose to 2.9 percent in April compared with 2.7 per cent in April 2009.

But rental costs continue to go up

Finding a rental apartment in major Canadian cities is slightly easier than last year.

Canada Mortgage and Housing reports the vacancy rate rose to 2.9 per cent in April compared with 2.7 per cent in April 2009.

But for residents of Quebec City, finding rental accommodation can still be excruciatingly difficult, with the city having a vacancy rate of only 0.4 per cent. Regina is only slightly better at 0.8 per cent.

The easiest place in Canada to find an apartment is Windsor, Ont., where the vacancy rate is pegged at 12.4 per cent.

Alberta, which had seen a boom-driven construction spurt followed by the recession and subsequent job losses, is seeing a dramatic rise in apartment availability. The rate is up 1.4 per cent over last year to six per cent.

Even though more apartments are available in Alberta, it still has among the highest rental rates in the nation. A two bedroom apartment in Calgary is going for an average of $1,082 per month, while in Edmonton it stands at $994 per month.

Only Vancouver ($1,150), Toronto ($1,134) and Ottawa ($1,061) top those rates.

Overall, CMHC says the cost of renting an apartment rose 1.8 per cent between April 2009 and April 2010.

The most significant increases were in Regina (a 7.1 per cent increase) Saskatoon (up 5.3 per cent) and St. John's (up five per cent).