The rental market in Canada tightened slightly in April with the vacancy rate dropping and average rental rates increasing, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
The average rental apartment vacancy rate in Canada's 35 major centres decreased slightly to 2.3 per cent in April 2012, from 2.5 per cent in April 2011, according to the spring Rental Market Survey released by CMHC.
“An overall improving job market over the last year, in conjunction with new migrants coming to Canada’s major centres, are factors that are supporting rental demand in Canada,” said Mathieu Laberge, deputy chief economist at CMHC's Market Analysis Centre. “Immigrants, as well as young workers, usually tend to rent first and then move to homeownership.”
Year-over-year comparisons of average rents can be slightly misleading, according to CMHC, because rents in newly built structures tend to be higher than in existing buildings. Excluding new structures and focusing on structures existing in both the April 2011 and April 2012 surveys provides a better indication of actual rent increases paid by tenants, said the report. Overall, the average rent for two-bedroom apartments in existing structures across Canada’s 35 major centres increased 2.2 per cent between April 2011 and April 2012, the same level that was observed between April 2010 and April 2011.
The results of CMHC’s spring survey reveal that, in April 2012, the major centres with the lowest vacancy rates were: Regina (0.6 per cent); Québec and Saguenay (0.7 per cent); and Guelph (1.0 per cent). At the provincial level, Manitoba has the lowest vacancy rate at 1.2 per cent.
The survey reveals that the major centres with the highest vacancy rates were: Saint John (8.4 per cent); Windsor (7.7 per cent); Kelowna (5.2 per cent); and Moncton and Charlottetown (5.0 per cent). On a provincial basis, the highest vacancy rate was in New Brunswick (6.2 per cent).
The Canadian average two-bedroom rent in both new and existing structures was $887 in April 2012, with highest rents seen in Vancouver ($1,210), Toronto ($1,164) an dCalgary ($1,113). Provincially, the highest average monthly rents were in Alberta ($1,055), British Columbia ($1,036) and Ontario ($1,014).
The lowest average monthly rents for two-bedroom apartments were seen in Trois-Rivières ($543), Saguenay ($553) and Sherbrooke ($581). On a provincial basis, the lowest monthly rents were in Quebec ($677), New Brunswick ($696) and Newfoundland and Labrador ($727).