A Closer Look at Canada’s Rental Market in 2021

Date
25 April 2022

Are you curious about the vacancy rate in your city? How about the average cost of rent? CMHC has those answers and more in their most recent Rental Market Report.

We have taken the time to pull out some of the data on rents and vacancy rates in the cities where many of our client co-operatives are located.

Canada-wide, the vacancy rate for purpose-built rentals sits at 3.1 per cent, while the average two-bedroom rent rose three per cent to $1,167.

British Colombia

  • Vancouver: The vacancy rate decreased from 2.6 per cent in 2020 to 1.2 per cent in 2021. CMHC's data shows that lower-income households are facing significant challenges finding affordable units. Rents for new tenants increased by 2.1 per cent, while rents for existing tenants were frozen. 
  • Victoria: The average two-bedroom rent was $1,571, up 3.1 per cent from 2020, and vacancies declined to pre-pandemic levels (2.2% in 2020 to 1% in 2021).

Alberta

  • Edmonton: The vacancy rate remained unchanged between 2020 and 2021 at 7.3 per cent. As a result of the high vacancies, cash and non-cash incentives are being used to drive occupancy. The average two-bedroom rent was down by 0.5 per cent, at $1,270.
  • Calgary: The vacancy rate dropped from 6.6 per cent to 5.1 per cent as economic conditions strengthened. The average rent levels remain stable.

Ontario

  • Hamilton: Vacancy rates decreased to 2.8 per cent, despite the largest supply increase in over 30 years. Asking rents on vacant units were up to 20 per cent more than rents paid by current tenants, owing to scarce options and a rent freeze on most occupied units. Mid-income renters would find most vacant units unaffordable.
  • Greater Sudbury: The region had the lowest overall vacancy rate in 10 years at 1.8 per cent. The average two-bedroom rent was up 8.4 per cent, at $1,286.
  • Toronto: The vacancy rate reached its highest level on recent record, moving to 4.4 per cent in 2021, from 3.4 per cent in 2020. Vacancy rates for affordable units accessible to low-to-middle income renter households remained well below the region’s average. The average two-bedroom rent was $1,666, up 1.5 per cent from the year before.
  • Ottawa: The vacancy rate remained mostly unchanged from the year before, at 3.4 per cent. Despite one of the highest vacancy rates in the last 25 years, there are limited options for lower-income households. After three years of growth, the average rent increased by only 2.2 per cent between October 2020 and October 2021, below the average for the last 10 years.

Prince Edward Island

  • Charlottetown The vacancy rate in PEI’s capital fell from 2.7 per cent in 2020 to 1.6 per cent in 2021. Over the same period, the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment climbed from $978 to $1,088, an increase of 11.2 per cent.

Check out the full report from CMHC for in-depth look at market trends in these cities and more.

No Vacancy Loss

28% of Agency clients lost no money to vacancies last year. Good, if this means members chose to stay in their units. Bad, if new members moved into units that hadn’t been refreshed.