Higher rents and fewer vacant units ” Canada’s nation-wide affordable housing squeeze is continuing to tighten for the country’s four million renter households.
That’s the news today as Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation released its latest rental market numbers. Detailed numbers will be released for provinces and metropolitan areas and are available from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation here.
– vacancy rates (the measure of vacant units in the private rental market) have dropped in 21 of 29 municipalities across Canada, signaling a continuing supply squeeze. Nationally, the rental vacancy rate has dropped to 2.6%.
– average market rents rose three times faster than the rate of inflation across Canada. Toronto continues to lead with the highest rents in the country, followed closely by Vancouver. Rents in Calgary increased by a record-breaking 19.5% – more than 19 times faster than the rate of inflation.
There is no relief for tenants in the secondary rental market (rented condominiums). CMHC reports that in every part of Canada, the average rents in condos are much higher than private rental units, and the vacancy rate is lower.
The combination of a continuing supply and affordability squeeze marks grim conditions for renter households and points to the urgent need for a national housing strategy by the federal government, in collaboration with the provinces and territories. The federal government, along with a number of provinces and territories, made massive cuts to affordable housing funding in the 1990s, which triggered the drop in rental vacancy rates and the increase in average rents.
The all-party House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance has urged the federal government in its pre-budget recommendations, released earlier this week, to develop a new national housing strategy to meet the desperate housing needs of Canadians.