June 10, 2009

Condos send Canada rental vacancies up

Canada's annual rental property vacancy rate edged up 0.1 percentage point over the year to 2.7 percent, the country's housing agency reported Wednesday.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said despite said an increase in demand for rental housing, condominiums factored into the rental equation in two ways.

Completions of condominiums, which continue to attract renter households looking to move into homeownership are decreasing demand for rental housing. Also, some of the completed condos compete with rental units if they were purchased by investors who then rent them out, CMHC Chief Economist Bob Dugan said in a release from Ottawa. However, this has been balanced by higher levels of demand for rental housing.

Of 35 major centers in the country, availability rates were highest in the southwestern Ontario cities of Windsor at 18 percent and London with 7.9 percent, tied with St. Catharines-Niagara.

The lowest availability rates were in Winnipeg, Manitoba, with 1.4 percent and Regina, Saskatchewan, with 1.8 percent, the release said.

Nationally, the average rent for two-bedroom apartments in existing structures increased 2.9 percent between April 2008 and April 2009.