CMHC’s 2019 Rental Market Survey indicates that the average national vacancy rate has declined for the third year in a row. This downward pressure on vacancy rates emphases the need for increased rental supply to ensure people throughout Canada have access to affordable housing.
We can see the decline across Canada in major city vacancy rates:
- The national vacancy rate for purpose-built rental apartment units declined for a third consecutive year in 2019. This comes as strong rental demand continued to outpace growth in supply. At 2.2% for all-bedroom types, the national vacancy rate is at its lowest level since 2002.
- The Montreal Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) vacancy rate reached a 15-year low, driving the national decline. Changes in Montreal’s vacancy rate have large impacts at the national level because 28.8% of all purpose-built apartment units in Canada are in Montreal. This exceeds the shares represented by Toronto (15.4%) and Vancouver (5.4%)
- Vacancy rates in most other CMAs were stable, including Vancouver and Calgary. The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) was a modest exception, where the vacancy rate edged up slightly.
- Rental demand remains elevated in both Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Vacancy rates in these markets remained amongst the lowest in Canada in 2019, along with Montreal and Halifax.
National Housing Strategy’s goal is to create affordable housing
As part of the National Housing Strategy is working to build affordable housing. Programs like the Rental Construction Financing Initiative (RCFI) and the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund (AHIF), aim to increase both the affordability and availability of these units. If you are part of a Business, Municipality or Government entity looking for opportunities to help improve Canada's rental housing supply, please visit cmhc.ca/NHS for more information.
The Rental Market Report uses data collected by CMHC's Rental Market Survey. It’s developed annually by CMHC. The report provides in-depth analysis and trends around the cost and availability of rental units throughout major cities within Canada. Learn more about the national vacancy rate in the report.