CFAA comments on CMHC's full Fall 2015 Rental Market Reports

News Release December 17, 2015

Vacancy rate increases to 3.3%
According to CMHC, the average rental vacancy rate in major centres across Canada increased
from 2.8% in October 2014 to 3.3% in October 2015. Larger increases in the vacancy rate took
place in Alberta and Saskatchewan due to the economic slowdown in those provinces.
In many centres some new purpose-built rental housing has come on stream. The vacancy and
availability figures indicate a good availability of apartments for prospective renters in almost all

New rental supply in many centres
In a number of centres, new purpose-built rental housing has come on stream between October
2014 and October 2015. For example, in Halifax 1,250 apartment were added to a stock of
44,000. In Ottawa, 800 were added to a stock of 60,000. In Vancouver, 809 were added to a
stock of 109,217. Those additions are generally the smaller part of the increase in the rental
supply, with more units being added among rental condos (known as strata title in BC), or in the
secondary market.
In Edmonton, 2,310 purpose-built rental units were added to the rental supply, increasing that
supply to 70,210. Additional rental units came into the condo rental market and the secondary
market, so that the rental supply in Edmonton as a whole increased by 3,447 units, which is 2.4%
of the total rental supply of 144,235 units.

Condo rentals versus purpose-built rentals
Outside of Atlantic Canada, condos have become a significant source of rental supply. Between
18% and 33% of all condos in each major centre are rented to tenants. The proportions of all
condos rented in major centres in October 2015 are: Ottawa 23%, London 33%, Toronto 30.5%,
Winnipeg 19%, Calgary 31%; Edmonton 33% and Vancouver 27%. However, condos lack some
of the advantages of purpose-built rental housing.

Secondary rental market offers lower rents and growth
Growth is also taking place in the secondary rental market in many cities. In Ottawa, the total
rental supply grew by 3.3%, reflecting mostly an increase in rented houses, doubles, duplexes
and accessory suites.
In most centres the “secondary market” of condos, rented houses, doubles, duplexes and
accessory suites makes up 40% to 50% of the total rental supply. The secondary market
provides a flexible housing supply which is often lower priced than the primary market, as shown
in the table attached.
In October 2015, the average rent for two bedroom apartments in the secondary market in
Vancouver (apart from condos) was $1,131, 17% less than in the primary market.
For more information, contact: John Dickie, President, CFAA (613) 235-0101, or e-mail
[email protected]

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