This week the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) reported a Spring primary apartment vacancy rate of 2.9% for Canada’s 35 major centres; the trend is relatively unchanged from last year’s rate of 2.7%.  The national rental market surveys are conducted twice a year in April and October, and take into consideration all municipalities with a population greater than 10,000, although the April survey is less comprehensive and does not include information on smaller geographic zones within centres and secondary rental markets.

The major national trend was increasing vacancies in Saskatchewan and Alberta due to lower oil prices, offset by decreasing vacancies in Ontario and British Columbia due to improved economic conditions and immigration respectively. The three lowest vacancy rates were representative of this, seen in Guelph (0.6%), Victoria (1.2%) and Vancouver (1.4%). In contrast, the highest vacancy rate was seen in Moncton (8.8%), Saint John (8.4%) and Gatineau (6.2%).

The vacancy rate for the metro Toronto area was 1.8%, significantly lower than the national average, but only a minor decrease from the 2014 rate of 1.9%. Furthermore, improved demand from young adults across the city left Toronto with an average rental price of $1,269 for two-bedroom apartments, 3rd highest rates in the country.

CMHC, Housing Vacancies, Seniors' Residence

A View of the Toronto Skyline, image by Marcus Mitanis

CMHC also published the results of the 2015 seniors’ residence vacancy rate survey, which saw the average national rate decrease to 8.1%, from 8.7% from last year. This summary is based on information gathered from 224,962 seniors living in 2,794 residences across the country. Bob Dugan, Chief economist at CMHC, attributes this drop to a slight outpacing of new residents in relation to spaces created. The highest vacancy rate was observed in Ontario (12.1%), while the lowest was in Manitoba (4.6%), with the rest of the provinces falling close to the national average. The average rent for bachelor units, where at least one meal is included, rose by 3.1% year-over-year to $2,107.

While information on seniors’ housing has not typically been at the forefront of the news reported on at UrbanToronto, we predict that the growth of this market segment will see it begin to shape more and more projects around the city. The Harmony Village developments in Scarborough and in Barrie are examples of condo projects where the design caters to active seniors. Our Forum threads will have more information on such developments.