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Blog by Kevin Wong

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Vancouver's Average Rent, at $1,181, Most Expensive In Canada: CMHC

OTTAWA — Demand is outstripping supply in the country’s apartment rental market, pushing the national vacancy rate lower and making it more difficult for renters to find accommodations, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reported Thursday.

The vacancy rate fell to 2.5% in April from 2.9% a year earlier, the national housing agency said.

“Immigration continues to be a factor in supporting rental housing demand. Recent immigrants tend to rent first before becoming homeowners,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist.

“In addition, condominium completions moved lower in the past months, while rental apartment unit completions remained relatively stable. As a result, the overall demand for rental apartment units increased faster than supply for this type of housing. Accordingly, this pushed Canada’s vacancy rate downward.”

The average monthly rent in new and existing structures for a two-bedroom apartment edged up to $864 in April from $848 in April 2010.

The highest average rents were found in Vancouver, at $1,181; Toronto, at $1,124; Ottawa-Gatineau, at $1,056 for the Ontario portion; Calgary, at $1,040; Edmonton, at $1,029; and Victoria, at $1,024.

The lowest monthly rents were found in the Quebec centres of Saguenay, at $542; Trois-Rivieres, at $546; and Sherbrooke, at $577.

The major urban centres with the lowest vacancy rates were Winnipeg and Regina, at 0.7%; Quebec City, at one per cent; Toronto, at 1.6%; and Kingston, Ont., at 1.7%.

Those with the highest vacancy rates were Windsor, Ont., at 9.4%; Kelowna and Abbotsford in B.C., at 6.6 per cent; and Charlottetown at 4.9%.

Factoring out newly built structures, which carry higher rents and can skew the national average, rents across Canada’s 35 major centres rose 2.2% year over year.