Rental vacancy rate dips to 2.4% across Canada, CMHC says

Canada's overall vacancy rate dropped for a second year in a row, as demand for rental housing grew at a faster pace than supply, according to the Canada Mortgage Housing Corp.

Canada added 37,000 apartments this year, but demand rose by even more — 50,000

The average monthly rental cost was $987 this year, a figure that rose by 3.4 per cent from 2017, CMHC says. (Paul Sakuma/Associated Press)

Canada's overall vacancy rate dropped for a second year in a row, as demand for rental housing grew at a faster pace than supply, according to the Canada Mortgage Housing Corp.

In its annual rental market survey, the housing agency says that in 2018, the vacancy rate was 2.4 per cent, down from three per cent in 2017.

CMHC says demand for rental housing grew at a faster pace than supply.

The housing agency calculates that 37,000 new purpose-built apartments were added across Canada this year. But demand for apartments increased by 50,000, so there aren't enough new ones to satisfy everyone who wants one.

The number of occupied units climbed by 2.5 per cent in October 2018, compared with an increase of 1.9 per cent in the same month a year earlier.

This chart shows vacancy rates in some of Canada's biggest rental markets. (CBC)

Ontario, B.C. and Manitoba all saw an increase in vacancy rates, while Quebec, Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Atlantic provinces saw declines.

The report, which looked at purpose-built rental units and condo apartments available, found the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment jumped by 3.5 per cent from October 2017 to October 2018.

The average rent for a bachelor apartment is now $787 a month. A one-bedroom goes for $946, on average, while a two bedroom costs $1,025. Apartments with three or more bedrooms — which are hard to find in the first place — cost an average of $1,097 a month.

(CBC)

But there were wide variations across the country. A two-bedroom condo in Toronto costs $2,393 a month, for example. But a comparable unit in Ottawa costs, on average, $1,014 a month.

B.C. saw the largest climb in rent, with Kelowna recording an 9.4 per increase. Saskatchewan, the province with the highest vacancy rates, saw rents go down slightly, by 0.5 per cent in Regina.

With files from CBC News