The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) says the rental market vacancy rate in Montreal has now reached 2.7%
The federal housing agency says the overall vacancy rate in Canada has increased from 2% in 2019 to 3.2% in 2020.
While Montreal’s vacancy rate increased to 2.7% in 2020, it remained stable in the suburbs at 1.2%, while it doubled on the island, reaching 3.2%.
According to the CMHC, the average rent across Montreal has increased by 4.2% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city’s biggest increase since 2003.
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The CMHC credits the vacancy rate increases to the decrease in net international migration, the absence of in-person university courses, and the return to the long-term rental market.
The lack of students on the market also affected the availability of apartments with three or more bedrooms, says the report. About 10,600 new rental apartments were added to the rental stock since 2019, a record spanning the last 30 years. Nearly 80% of these new units were located in the suburbs.
Other Quebec Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) saw decreased rates – notably in Saguenay (2.8%), Sherbrooke (1.3%), and Trois-Rivières (1.3%).
“The vacancy rate for purpose-built rental apartments in Canada’s CMAs increased in 2020,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “The economic impact of the pandemic has significantly reduced rental demand. Lower international migration, fewer student renters and weaker employment conditions led to weaker inflows of new renters. While vacancy rates increased in many centres, we continue to see a need for more rental supply to ensure access to affordable housing.”