Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) conduct the Rental Market Survey(RMS) every year in April and October to estimate the relative strengths in the rental market. The survey is conducted on a sample basis in all urban areas with populations of 10,000 and more. The survey targets only privately initiated structures with at least three rental units, which have been on the market for at least three months. The survey collects market rent, available and vacant unit data from sampled structures.

The survey is conducted by a combination of telephone interviews and site visits, and information is obtained from the owner, manager, or building superintendent. The survey is conducted during the first two weeks of April/October, and the results reflect market conditions at that time.

CMHC is constantly reviewing the Universe of rental structures in the rental market Universe to ensure that it is as complete as possible. Every year, any newly completed rental structures with at least 3 rental units are added to the Universe. In addition to this, CMHC undertakes comprehensive reviews by comparing the Universe listing to other sources of data to ensure that the list of structures is as complete as possible.

CMHC’s Rental Market Survey provides a snapshot of vacancy and availability rates, and average rents in both new and existing structures. In October 2006, CMHC introduced a new measure for the change in rent that is calculated based on existing structures only. This estimate is based on structures that were common to the survey sample for the previous and the current Rental Market Survey. The change in rent in existing structures is an estimate of the change in rent that the landlords charge and removes compositional effects on the rent level movement due to new buildings, conversions, and survey sample rotation. The estimate of per cent change in rent is available in all Canada and Provincial Highlight reports. The rent levels in new and existing structures are also published. While CMHC publishes only those percent change in rents in existing structures which are statistically significant, changes in rents that one might calculate based on rent levels in new and existing structures may or may not be statistically significant.

A letter code representing the statistical reliability (i.e., the coefficient of variation (CV)) for each estimate is provided to indicate the data reliability. CV of an estimate is defined as the ratio of the standard error of the estimate to the estimate itself and the CV is generally expressed a percentage. For example, let the average rent for one bedroom apartments in a given CMA be x̄ and its standard error be σ . Then the Coefficient of Variation is given by CV = σ / x̄.

METHODOLOGY FOR SECONDARY RENTAL MARKET SURVEY

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) conducts a survey of the Secondary Rental Market (SRMS) in September to estimate the relative strengths in the secondary rental market which is defined as those dwellings not covered by the regular RMS — rented single-detached homes, semi-detached (double) homes, rented freehold row/townhomes, rented duplex apartments (i.e., one-above-other), rented accessory apartments (separate dwelling units that are located within the structure of another dwelling type), rented condominiums (can be any dwelling type but are primarily apartments), and one or two apartments which are part of a commercial or other type of structure.

The SRMS has three components which are conducted in selected CMAs:

  • A Household Rent Survey of all households to collect information about rents.
  • A Condominium Apartment Rent Survey of households living in condominium apartments to collect information about rents.
  • A Condominium Apartment Vacancy Survey of condominium apartment owners to collect vacancy information.

All three surveys are conducted by telephone interviews. For the condominium apartment vacancy survey, information is obtained from the owner, manager, or building superintendent and can be supplemented by site visits if no telephone contact is made. For the other two surveys, information is collected from an adult living in the household. All surveys are conducted in September, and the results reflect market conditions at that time.

CMHC publishes the number of units rented and vacancy rates for the condominium vacancy survey. For the condominium rent and household rent surveys, the average rent is published. A letter code representing the statistical reliability (i.e., the coefficient of variation (CV)) for each estimate is provided to indicate the data reliability.

Rented condominium apartments are surveyed in the following CMAs: Calgary, Edmonton, Gatineau (vacancy data only), Hamilton (vacancy data only), Kelowna (vacancy data only), Kitchener (vacancy data only), London (vacancy data only), Montréal, Ottawa, Québec, Regina (vacancy data only), Saskatoon (vacancy data only), Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria and Winnipeg. Other secondary rental market units were surveyed in Abbotsford, Barrie, Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Hamilton, Kelowna, Montréal, Ottawa, Québec, Regina, St. Catharines-Niagara, St. John’s, Saskatoon, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, Windsor and Winnipeg.

RENTAL MARKET SURVEY (RMS) AND SECONDARY RENTAL MARKET SURVEY (SRMS) DATA RELIABILITY

CMHC does not publish an estimate (e.g. Vacancy Rates and Average Rents) if the reliability of the estimate is too low or the confidentiality rules are violated. The ability to publish an estimate is generally determined by its statistical reliability, which is measured using the coefficient of variation (CV).

Every year CMHC reviews the method of estimation for Household Rent Survey, which may result in some changes to previously published estimates. All statistics in this report are reflective of the new method of estimation.

RELIABILITY CODES FOR VACANCY RATES

CMHC uses CV, sampling fraction and universe size to determine the ability to publish vacancy rates. The following letter codes are used to indicate the level of reliability of vacancy rates:

A — Excellent
B — Very good
C — Good
D — Fair (Use with Caution)
** — Poor — Suppressed

The following two tables indicate the level of reliability of Vacancy Rates:

If Vacancy Rate is Zero (0) and sampling fraction less than 100% then the following levels are assigned:

Sampling Fraction (%) range
Structures in Universe(0,20]*(20,40](40,60](60,80](80,100)
3 – 10PoorPoorPoorPoorPoor
11 – 20PoorFairFairFairGood
21 – 40PoorFairFairGoodVery Good
41 – 80PoorFairGoodGoodVery Good
81+PoorGoodGoodVery GoodVery Good

Otherwise, the following table is used to determine the reliability level of vacancy rates:

Coefficient of Variation (CV) %
Vacancy Rate0(0,5](5,10](10,16.5](16.5,33.3](33.3,50]50+
(0,0.75]ExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellentV. GoodV. Good
(0.75,1.5]ExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellentFairPoor
(1.5,3]ExcellentExcellentExcellentV. GoodGoodPoorPoor
(3,6]ExcellentExcellentV. GoodGoodFairPoorPoor
(6,10]ExcellentExcellentV. GoodGoodPoorPoorPoor
(10,15]ExcellentExcellentGoodFairPoorPoorPoor
(15,30]ExcellentExcellentFairPoorPoorPoorPoor
(30,100]ExcellentExcellentPoorPoorPoorPoorPoor

*(0, 20] means sampling fraction is greater than 0% but less than or equal to 20%; others are similar

RELIABILITY CODES FOR AVERAGE RENT

CMHC uses the CV to determine the reliability level of the estimates of average rents and a CV cut-off of 10% for publication of average rents. It is felt that this level of reliability best balances the need for high quality data and not publishing unreliable data. The same codes are used to indicate the reliability of rent estimates.

CMHC assigns a level of reliability as follows (CV’s are given in percentages):

A — If the CV is greater than 0 and less than or equal to 2.5 then the level of reliability is Excellent.
B — If the CV is greater than 2.5 and less than or equal to 5 then the level of reliability is Very Good.
C — If the CV is greater than 5 and less than or equal to 7.5 then the level of reliability is Good.
D — If the CV is greater than 7.5 and less than or equal to 10 then the level of reliability is Fair.
** — If the CV is greater than 10 then the level of reliability is Poor. (Do Not Publish)

DEFINITIONS

Availability: A rental unit is considered available if the existing tenant has given, or has received, notice to move, and a new tenant has not signed a lease; or the unit is vacant (see definition of vacancy below).

Rent: The rent refers to the actual amount tenants pay for their unit. No adjustments are made for the inclusion or exclusion of amenities and services such as heat, hydro, parking, and hot water. For available and vacant units, the rent is the amount the owner is asking for the unit.

It should be noted that the average rents reported in this publication provide a sound indication of the amounts paid by unit size and geographical sector. Utilities such as heating, electricity and hot water may or may not be included in the rent.

Rental Apartment Structure: Any building containing three or more rental units, of which at least one unit is not ground oriented. Owner-occupied units are not included in the rental building unit count.

Rental Row (Townhouse) Structure: Any building containing three or more rental units, all of which are ground oriented with vertical divisions. Owner-occupied units are not included in the rental building unit count. These row units in some centres are commonly referred to as townhouses.

Vacancy: A unit is considered vacant if, at the time of the survey, it is physically unoccupied and available for immediate rental.

Definitions of Census Areas Referred to in CMHC Publications are as Follows:

A census metropolitan area (CMA) or a census agglomeration (CA) is formed by one or more adjacent municipalities centred on a large urban area (known as the urban core). The census population count of the urban core is at least 10,000 to form a census agglomeration and at least 100,000 to form a census metropolitan area. To be included in the CMA or CA, other adjacent municipalities must have a high degree of integration with the central urban area, as measured by commuting flows derived from census place of work data. CMAs and CAs contain whole municipalities or Census Subdivisions.

Data presented in this publication is based on Statistics Canada’s 2011 Census area definitions.

Acknowledgement

The Rental Market Survey and the Secondary Rental Market Survey could not have been conducted without the cooperation of the rental property owners, managers, building superintendents and household members throughout Canada. CMHC acknowledges their hard work and assistance in providing timely and accurate information. As a result of their contribution, CMHC is able to provide information that benefits the entire housing industry.

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Date Published: March 31, 2018