While Western cities such as Calgary have seen significant rental price increase over the last few years, that might change as vacancy rates inch upward.
The spring Rental Market Survey released Monday by The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) focuses on purpose-built rental structures with three units or more. In April 2015, Calgary had the second highest average rent for a two-bedroom apartment, the industry standard, at $1,319 per month (Vancouver came in first with a $1,345 average).
In the spring Rental Market Survey, there were significant regional differences in rental costs among the 35 largest census metropolitan areas evaluated. While the West was home to some of the priciest places to sign a lease, Quebec was home to a number of cities where a two-bedroom apartment fell well below $949 per month, the cross-Canada average among the census metropolitan areas.
In fact, three lowest rents for a two-bedroom apartment were in the province of Quebec: Trois-Rivières at $571, Saguenay at $583 per month and Sherbrooke at $607.
See how the cities compare in our interactive map below, which details the average prices for bachelor to three bedroom apartments:
CMHC also studied rental price shifts, comparing the costs for existing apartments from April 2013 to April 2015 (new rentals were excluded as they typically cost more than existing rental stock).
Some of the largest year-over-year increases in rent for two-bedroom apartments were in the West. According to the survey, rents increased by 5.9 per cent in Calgary, the highest amount among the cities surveyed. Tying for third place, Edmonton saw a rental increase of 4.4 per cent.
Here’s a look at how rents have changed across Canada:
++ Change in rent is not statistically significant. ** Data not statistically reliable.
|Census Metropolitan Area||% Change Apr 13 to Apr 14||% Change Apr 14 to Apr 15|
|Greater Sudbury/Grand Sudbury||++||4.4|
|Ottawa-Gatineau (ON part)||1.3||1.7|
|Ottawa -Gatineau (QC part)||++||++|
In the report, CMHC noted that the growth in Calgary and Edmonton “can largely be attributed to rent increases from the first half of 2014.” However, the negative impact of lower oil prices on rental demand has already been felt in the region with Calgary’s vacancy rate rising from 1.4 per cent in April 2014 to 3.2 per cent this year. A similar trend was seen in Edmonton, which saw the vacancy rate rise from 1.4 to 2.4 per cent. If vacancy rates continue climb, it’s unlikely that the cities will maintain the level of rental price growth they have over the last few years.
For more information about vacancy rates, check out our coverage of on how cities compare.