Canada’s Purpose-Built Rental Vacancy Rate Increases

Canada’s 35 larger centres saw the average vacancy rate in privately initiated purpose-built rental apartments increase to 3.3 per cent in October 2015, from 2.8 per cent in October 2014, according to preliminary data from the fall Rental Market Survey released today by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

“The rise in the national vacancy rate was due to lower net migration in regions most affected by low oil prices as well as an increase in the supply of purpose-built rental apartment units,” said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist at CMHC.

Overall, the average rent for two-bedroom apartments in existing structures increased 2.4 per cent between October 2014 and October 2015. In October 2015, the average rent for a two bedroom apartment in new and existing structures was $960.

The Rental Market Survey also covers condominium apartments offered for rent in 16 large urban centres, including Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. In this particular segment of the secondary rental market, rental condominium vacancy rates ranged from a high of 5.3 per cent in Edmonton, to a low of 0.4 per cent in Hamilton. Average monthly rents for two-bedroom condominium apartments were highest in Toronto ($1,754) and lowest in Québec ($1,065).

Consistent with results from previous surveys, condominium vacancy rates were found to be lower than vacancy rates for purpose-built rental apartment units in most centres, while all centres registered higher average rents for rental condominium apartments. Condominiums are typically newer and tend to offer a greater range of amenities than purpose-built rental apartments.  

CMHC is releasing preliminary data in order to provide more timely information. The final 2015 Rental Market Survey report and data will be released on December 16, 2015.

As Canada’s authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need, and offers objective housing research and advice to Canadian governments, consumers and the housing industry.


Note: A table of vacancy rates and rents is attached.

1.0 Rental Market Indicators
Privately Initiated Apartment Structures of Three Units and Over
Provinces and Major Centres1
CentresVacancy Rates (%)Average Rent 2 Bedroom ($)
(New and existing structures)
 Percentage Change of Average Rent Two Bedroom (2) From Fixed Sample (Existing structures only)
Oct-14 Oct-15 Oct-14 Oct-15   Oct-13 to Oct-14 Oct-14 to Oct-15
Newfoundland and Labrador 10,000+ 4.1 a 4.0 a - 812 a 832 a   3.1 b 1.0 a
St. John's CMA 4.6 a 4.5 a - 888 a 922 a   3.2 b 1.1 a
Prince Edward Island 10,000+ 5.4 a 3.9 b 819 a 820 a   0.7 a ++  
Charlottetown CA 5.9 a 3.9 b 836 a 837 a   0.3 b ++  
Nova Scotia 10,000+ 4.1 a 3.9 a - 955 a 977 a   1.7 a 1.6 a
Halifax CMA 3.8 a 3.5 a 1,005 a 1,032 a   1.8 b 1.6 a
New Brunswick 10,000+ 8.0 a 7.4 a 735 a 744 a   1.2 a 1.1 a
Moncton CMA 8.7 a 7.5 a 762 a 761 a   1.2 a ++  
Saint John CMA 9.0 a 8.3 a - 714 a 718 a   0.7 b 1.5 c
Quebec 10,000+ 3.7 a 4.3 a 711 a 727 a   2.0 a 1.6 a
Ottawa – Gatineau CMA (Que. Part) 6.5 b 6.1 b - 750 a 747 a   2.1 c 0.9 d
Montréal CMA 3.4 a 4.0 a 739 a 757 a   2.2 a 1.7 a
Québec CMA 3.1 a 3.9 a 775 a 788 a   2.0 a 1.3 a
Saguenay CMA 4.2 b 7.2 b 595 a 598 a   2.1 c 1.0 d
Sherbrooke CMA 5.4 a 5.8 a - 604 a 608 a   1.7 b 1.3 a
Trois-Rivières CMA 5.3 b 6.2 a 568 a 581 a   1.8 c 1.1 a
Ontario 10,000+ 2.3 a 2.3 a 1,086 a 1,113 a   2.1 a 3.1 a
Barrie CMA 1.6 b 1.2 a 1,118 a 1,167 b   1.5 a 4.3 d
Brantford CMA 2.4 a 2.9 a - 855 a 875 a   1.8 c 3.5 c
Greater Sudbury/Grand Sudbury CMA 4.2 b 3.4 b 927 a 952 a   1.6 c 2.5 b
Guelph CMA 1.2 a 1.1 a - 988 a 1,013 a   3.0 a 3.0 b
Hamilton CMA 2.2 a 3.7 a 959 a 1,012 a   2.8 a 3.9 b
Kingston CMA 1.9 a 2.7 a 1,070 a 1,094 a   2.1 a 2.8 a
Kitchener – Cambridge – Waterloo CMA 2.3 a 2.1 a - 975 a 954 a   1.6 a 2.4 a
London CMA 2.9 a 2.6 a 943 a 990 a   1.0 a 2.1 a
St. Catharines – Niagara CMA 3.6 b 3.1 a - 892 a 908 a   1.6 a 3.2 b
Oshawa CMA 1.8 a 1.9 a - 1,010 a 1,010 a   2.8 b 1.9 c
Ottawa – Gatineau CMA (Ont. Part) 2.6 a 2.6 a - 1,132 a 1,172 a   ++   3.0 a
Peterborough CMA 2.9 a 3.8 b 952 a 964 a   1.4 a 1.5 b
Thunder Bay CMA 2.3 a 4.6 a 888 a 918 a   3.9 c 2.4 b
Toronto CMA 1.6 a 1.6 a - 1,251 a 1,274 a   2.6 a 3.5 a
Windsor CMA 4.3 a 3.9 a - 798 a 821 a   1.9 b 2.8 a
Manitoba 10,000+ 2.5 a 2.9 a 983 a 1,012 a   4.1 a 3.3 a
Winnipeg CMA 2.5 a 2.9 a 1,016 a 1,045 a   4.2 b 3.3 a
Saskatchewan 10,000+ (3) 4.1 a 6.8 a 1,056 a 1,055 a   4.7 a ++  
Regina CMA 3.0 a 5.3 a 1,079 a 1,095 a   3.0 a ++  
Saskatoon CMA 3.4 a 6.5 a 1,091 a 1,087 a   4.3 a 0.4 b
Alberta 10,000+ (4) 2.1 a 5.6 a 1,238 a 1,253 a   5.7 a 1.2 a
Calgary CMA 1.4 a 5.3 a 1,322 a 1,332 a   5.9 a ++  
Edmonton CMA 1.7 a 4.2 a 1,227 a 1,259 a   6.1 a 2.2 a
British Columbia 10,000+ 1.5 a 1.2 a 1,112 a 1,147 a   2.4 a 3.8 a
Abbotsford – Mission CMA 3.1 a 0.9 a 835 a 853 a   1.1 a 2.2 b
Kelowna CMA 1.0 a 0.3 a 980 a 990 a   1.6 b 3.9 c
Vancouver CMA 1.0 a 0.8 a 1,311 a 1,360 a   2.5 a 4.6 a
Victoria CMA 1.5 a 0.6 a 1,095 a 1,128 a   2.6 a 2.6 a
Canada CMAs (1) 2.8 a 3.3 a 941 a 960 a   2.5 a 2.4 a
Canada 10,000+ 3.0 a 3.5 a 915 a 934 a   2.4 a 2.3 a

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