Ottawa – The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says rent prices in Canada soared last year as supply struggled to keep up with demand, leading to the lowest national vacancy rate on record since it began tracking that data in 1988.
The federal housing agency says the vacancy rate for purpose-built rental apartments sat at 1.5 per cent in October 2023 when the CMHC conducted the annual survey, down from 1.9 per cent a year earlier, which had been the lowest national vacancy rate in over two decades.
The average rent for a two-bedroom purpose-built apartment, which the CMHC uses as its representative sample, grew eight per cent to $1,359 in 2023, which it notes was well above historical averages.
Meanwhile, the average rent for a two-bedroom rental condo was $2,049 as the secondary rental market also tightened, with the vacancy rate for such units falling from 1.6 to 0.9 per cent annually.
The CMHC says that although rental supply rose in most Canadian cities last year, it was not enough to keep pace with increased demand pressures caused by population and employment growth.
It says higher mortgage rates and persistently high home prices also continued to make it harder for renters to transition to home ownership.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 31, 2024.