Biggest cities in Sask. have some of Canada's highest vacancy rates

Saskatoon and Regina are bucking a Canadian trend, with some some of the highest apartment vacancy rates in the country, according to a recent report.

Saskatoon's vacancy rate sits at 9.6%, Regina's is 7% according to new report

Saskatoon has the highest apartment rental vacancy rates in the country, according to a new report from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. (Rob Kruk/CBC)

Saskatoon and Regina are bucking a Canadian trend, with some of the highest apartment vacancy rates in the country, according to a recent report. 

Saskatoon had the highest vacancy rate in Canada, at 9.6 per cent, in October. This comes after hitting a record high of 10.3 per cent in October 2016, according to an annual market survey by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). 

Regina's vacancy rate increased to seven per cent, up from 5.5 per cent. 

The average vacancy rate for purpose-built rental apartment units across Canadian centres was three per cent, again according to CMHC.

Senior market analyst Goodson Mwale said the vacancy rate in Saskatoon declined due to stronger demand, despite rising supply in rental markets.

The high vacancy rate in Saskatoon has kept downward pressure on rental prices. The average rent in Saskatoon is down by 1.5 per cent to $999. 

Saskatoon's vacancy rate declined after reaching a record high in 2016. (CMHC October Rental Market Survey - Saskatoon)

Demand for rental units in Regina "has continued to lag behind the expansion in supply," Mwale wrote, "which has pushed the apartment vacancy rate higher."

The vacancy rate in Regina has more than doubled since 2014. The high vacancy rate has limited rent increases.

Saskatchewan's overall vacancy rate remained unchanged at 9.3 per cent and the average rental price in the province was $975. 

Regina's rental vacancy rates have been steadily climbing. (CMHC October Rental Market Survey - Regina)

Developers are stepping up their efforts to fill units, offering renters a variety incentives to sign a lease.

Dustin Halvorson, director of sales and business development at Altern Properties in Regina, said that in order to stay as competitive as possible, his company is offering new renters use of a clubhouse with pool tables and kitchen, plus discount cards for local stores.