Apartment vacancy in Alberta declined to 1.5 per cent from 3.0 per cent
Apartment vacancy in Alberta has declined, according to a new report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
The average apartment vacancy rate in Alberta’s urban centres was 1.5 per cent in April 2013, down from 3.0 per cent in the previous year.
In both the Calgary and Edmonton Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs), the apartment vacancy rate declined to 1.2 per cent.
Employment gains and heightened levels of net migration pushed vacancies lower in most of the province’s urban centres, according to the CMHC.
The largest reduction in vacancies was reported in Wood Buffalo, which came down from 10.8 per cent in April 2012 to 2.8 per cent in April 2013.
CMHC says a strengthening labour market, coupled with on-going investment in oil sands projects, drew migrants to the region and supported rental demand.
Rental rates in Alberta
The CMHC said rental rates in Alberta’s CMAs continued to rise, due to pressure brought on by heightened demand and declining vacancy rates.
Same-sample rents for two-bedroom apartments in Calgary increased 7.2 per cent from April 2012 to April 2013.
Meanwhile in Edmonton, two-bedroom apartment rents in structures increased by 4.2 per cent.
The provincial average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Alberta was $1,117 per month in April 2013.
Wood Buffalo kept its position of having the highest average rent among all urban centres in Alberta at $2,229 per month, while Medicine Hat continued to have the lowest at $709 monthly.
Overall, accounting for both new and existing structures, the average two- bedroom apartment rent in April 2013 was $1,202 per month in Calgary and $1,077 per month in Edmonton.
Canada’s rental vacancy rate increases
Overall, the average rental apartment vacancy rate in Canada’s 35 major centres has increased to 2.7 per cent in April 2013, from 2.3 per cent in April last year.
“While demand for rental units remains high, substitutes to purpose-built rental market units, such as rented condominiums, have taken some of the overall demand for rental units,” said Mathieu Laberge, deputy chief economist at CMHC.
“Sustained demand for rental housing from net migration was partly offset by moderating employment growth, notably for young workers aged 20-24.”
The results of the CMHC’s spring survey reveal that the major centres with the lowest vacancy rates in April 2013 were Edmonton and Calgary (1.2 per cent each) and St. John’s (1.5 per cent).
The major centres with the highest vacancy rates were Saint John (10.4 per cent), Charlottetown (8.7 per cent) and Moncton (7.4 per cent).
Average monthly rents in Canada
The Canadian average two-bedroom rent in new and existing structures was $911 in April 2013.
The highest average monthly rents for two-bedroom apartments were in Vancouver ($1,255), Toronto ($1,202) and Calgary ($1,202).
The lowest average monthly rents for two-bedroom apartments were in Saguenay ($560), Trois-Rivières ($562) and Sherbrooke ($586).
Overall, the average rent for two-bedroom apartments in existing structures across Canada’s 35 major centres increased 2.7 per cent between April 2012 and April 2013, up from 2.2 per cent in the previous year.
The major centres with the largest increase in fixed sample average rent were Calgary (7.2 per cent), St. John’s (5.5 per cent) and Regina (4.7 per cent).
The CMHC said that year-over-year comparisons of average rents can be slightly misleading because rents in newly built structures tend to be higher than in existing buildings.
Excluding new structures and focusing on structures existing in both the April 2012 and April 2013 surveys provides a better indication of actual rent increases paid by tenants, the CMHC said.
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