National vacancy rate falls

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CMHC linked rising youth employment and a lower supply of new apartments as the cause for a drop in the country’s vacancy rate.

The average rental apartment vacancy rate in Canada's 35 major centres decreased slightly to 2.2 per cent in October 2011, from 2.6 per cent in October 2010, according to CMHC’s fall Rental Market Survey.

“Modestly higher levels of employment among persons aged 15 to 24 likely increased household formation among young adults, thereby increasing rental housing demand. This, combined with the supply of newly constructed rental apartments moving slightly lower, pushed Canada’s vacancy rate downward, said Mathieu Laberge, deputy chief economist at CMHC’s Market Analysis Centre. “Demand for rental condominium apartments remained strong, with the vacancy rate for such units falling in most of Canada’s largest urban centres, including Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.”

The lowest vacancy rates were found in Regina (0.6 per cent), Winnipeg, Kingston and Guelph (1.1 per cent), and St. John’s (1.3 per cent). At the provincial level, Manitoba had the lowest vacancy rate at 1.0 per cent. Newfoundland and Labrador (1.3 per cent) and Saskatchewan (1.9 per cent) were the other provinces with vacancy rates below two per cent.

The highest vacancy rates were found in Windsor (8.1 per cent), Abbotsford (6.7 per cent) and Saint John (5.9 per cent). On a provincial basis, the highest vacancy rate was in New Brunswick (4.8 per cent).

The average rent for a two-bedroom new or existing apartment in Canada increased by $23 year-over-year in October to $883. The highest average monthly rents were in Vancouver ($1,237), Toronto ($1,149), Ottawa ($1,086), Calgary ($1,084), Victoria ($1,045), Edmonton ($1,034) and Barrie ($1,001). Provincially, the highest average monthly rents were in British Columbia ($1,050), Alberta ($1,044) and Ontario ($1,002).

The lowest average monthly rents for two-bedroom apartments were in Trois-Rivières ($547), Saguenay ($557) and Sherbrooke ($577). On a provincial basis, the lowest monthly rents were: Québec ($684), New Brunswick ($687) and Newfoundland and Labrador ($701).

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