CMHC says rental vacancy rate lowest in two decades

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Surging demand pushed the national vacancy rate for purpose-built rental units to its lowest level since 2001 and drove rent growth to new highs in 2022, according to a report from Canada’s national housing agency.

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For the first time the CMHC broke down the difference in rent increases for units that turned over to new tenants. Those units saw a staggering 18.2 per cent increase in rent nationally, more than six times the increase of 2.8 per cent for units that did not turn over. The discrepancy was even greater in some large markets, such as Toronto, where units that turned over saw 29.1 per cent rent growth on average.

“Lower vacancy rates and rising rents were a common theme across Canada in 2022. This caused affordability challenges for renters, especially those in the lower income ranges, with very few units in the market available in their price range,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist, in a press release. “The current conditions reinforce the urgent need to accelerate housing supply and address supply gaps to improve housing affordability.”

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