cmhc rental market report

New stats show rising rent costs and plummeting vacancy rates across Canada

New data from Canada's national housing agency has painted a bleak picture for renters across the country.

The results of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's latest Rental Market Survey were published today, and though the information isn't exactly surprising, it's still disheartening for those in cities that have already been experiencing troublesome housing markets.

Vacancy rates fell and the average price of rent rose dramatically in a number of Canadian city centres in 2019, while more and more young people and migrants continue to relocate to cities and seek rental housing.

Overall last year, the rate of available rental units across the country fell to the lowest it's been since 2008 — 2.3 per cent. For purpose-built apartments specifically (not including row housing), this number hit 2.2 per cent, the worst it's been since 2002. The vacancy rate for condo rentals Canada-wide is also at a dramatic low of just 1 per cent.

Montreal's vacancy rate for rentals fell to a 15-year low of 1.5 per cent, while Halifax's and Victoria's dropped to a shocking 1 per cent — just slightly worse than Vancouver's stable rock bottom 1.1 per cent.

The General Toronto Area (not just the city itself), Vancouver, Halifax, Ottawa, Gatineau, Kingston, Kitchener, Guelph, Lethbridge, Trois-Rivieres, and London are among the Canadian cities that now have concerning vacancy rates below 2 per cent, though some of these numbers — like the GTA's — are actually slightly up from 2018.

Adding more fuel to the hellfire that is the Canadian rental market, numbers show that monthly rental costs in some cities have risen, on average, nearly 10 per cent from 2018. As many know, the average rent in cities such Toronto have already hit untenable record highs of more than $2,500.

This is in line with the fact that though low vacancy rates generally indicate that a city is doing well and attracting new residents, it also means those residents face way more difficulty when trying to find housing and often have to pay exponentially higher rents to secure a place.

Here are the CMHC's most recent stats for some major cities across Canada:

Toronto
  • Vacancy rate: 1.5 per cent (up 0.3 per cent)
  • Average rent: $1,452 (up 6.8 per cent)
  • Available three or more bedroom apartments are hardest to come by
Halifax
  • Vacancy rate: 1 per cent (down 0.6 per cent)
  • Average rent: $1,1113 (up by 3.8 per cent)
  • Available one bedroom apartments are hardest to come by
Montreal
  • Vacancy rate: 1.5 per cent (down 0.4 per cent)
  • Average rent: $841 (up by 3.6 per cent)
  • Available three or more bedroom apartments are hardest to come by
Vancouver
  • Vacancy rate: 1.1 per cent (unchanged)
  • Average rent: $1,469 (up 4.7 per cent)
  • Available bachelor apartments are hardest to come by
Ottawa
  • Vacancy rate: 1.8 per cent (up 0.2 per cent)
  • Average rent: $1,281 (up by 8.4 per cent)
  • Available one bedroom apartments are hardest to come by
Quebec City
  • Vacancy rate: 2.4 per cent (down 1.1 per cent)
  • Average rent: $837 (up 1.9 per cent)
  • Available three or more bedroom apartments are hardest to come by
Victoria
  • Vacancy rate: 1 per cent (down 0.2 per cent)
  • Average rent: $1,221 (up 3.4 per cent)
  • Available one bedroom apartments are hardest to come by
Winnipeg
  • Vacancy rate: 3.1 per cent (unchanged)
  • Average rent: $1,070 (up 3.5 per cent)
  • Available two bedroom apartments are hardest to come by
Calgary
  • Vacancy rate: 3.9 per cent (unchanged)
  • Average rent: $1,181 (up 1.7 per cent)
  • Available bachelor apartments are hardest to come by
Edmonton
  • Vacancy rate: 4.7 per cent (down 0.4 per cent)
  • Average rent: $1,144 (up 0.9 per cent)
  • Available three or more bedroom apartments are hardest to come by
Regina
  • Vacancy rate: 7.8 per cent (unchanged)
  • Average rent: $1,035 (down 0.5 per cent)
  • Available three or more bedroom apartments are hardest to come by
St. Catharine's-Niagara
  • Vacancy rate: 2.3 per cent (unchanged)
  • Average rent: $1,028 (up 4 per cent)
  • Available two bedroom apartments are hardest to come by
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