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Photo: Daniel Paquet/Flickr

Landlords are having a tougher time renting out purpose-built apartments in Canada’s oil-producing regions as the price of the resource continues to fall, pulling up vacancies on a national level.

The national vacancy rate for these apartments reached 3.3 per cent in October, up from the 2.8 per cent rate seen last year at the same time, according to preliminary data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s forthcoming 2015 Rental Market Survey.

CMHC’s rate follows rental activity in Canada’s 35 largest urban centres and only tracks privately initiated purpose-built apartment buildings with at least three units.

“The rise in the national vacancy rate was due to lower net migration in regions most affected by low oil prices as well as an increase in the supply of purpose-built rental apartment units,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist, in a statement released today.

During the same period, rent for existing two-bedroom apartments was up 2.4 per cent in census metropolitan areas. Tenants paid $960 on average in October 2015 to rent a two-bedroom new or existing apartment.

CMHC also tracked condo rentals in 16 major urban centres. Across these big markets, the vacancy rate among condos that were being rented out was up to 2.3 per cent, and the average rent for a two-bedroom condo was $1,487.

“Condominiums are typically newer and tend to offer a greater range of amenities than purpose built rental apartments,” explained CMHC of the difference in price and vacancies between condo rentals and purpose-built units.

Edmonton had the highest rental-condo vacancy rate at 5.3 per cent. Other cities in the Prairies rounded out the top three: at 4.9 per cent, Calgary had the second-highest rate followed by Regina at 4.6 per cent.

Hamilton, on the other hand, had a rental-condo vacancy rate of 0.4 per cent, the lowest among areas tracked.

Toronto was the priciest market for those looking to rent a two-bedroom condo as the average rent for these units was $1,754.

Those looking for cheaper rents may want to turn to Quebec City. There, $1,065 is enough, at least on average, to rent out of a two-bedroom condo.

The full 2015 Rental Market Survey from CMHC will be published online on December 16th, 2015.

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