Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) conducts 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 for all 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.

Data tables in this publication result from CMHC’s Rental Market Survey and provide a snapshot of vacancy and availability rates, and average rents in both new and existing structures.

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.


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. As indicated earlier, CMHC currently uses the coefficient of variation (CV).


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
(1.5,3]ExcellentExcellentExcellentV. GoodGoodPoorPoor
(3,6]ExcellentExcellentV. GoodGoodFairPoorPoor
(6,10]ExcellentExcellentV. GoodGoodPoorPoorPoor

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


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)


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.


The Rental Market Survey could not have been conducted without the cooperation of the rental property owners, managers and building superintendents 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