Rents are going up

Apartments are costing more to rent

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) has reported that the vacancy rate is rising and rents are increasing for Canada's apartment market. This is due to less jobs available to the younger employee and reduced mortgage rates. So with cuts in wages and less opportunity for work you find yourself having to pay more to live. This happens during the heating season in Canada so it really does pay to consider whether or not utilities would be included in a rental property.

CMHC's statistics show that the average apartment rental vacancy rate for Canada's 35 major centres rose to 2.8% from 2.2%. their statistics do not include new buildings whose average rent is so high it distorts the numbers. Regina saw the biggest increase at 10.2% in all markets except the new buildings.

More people are buying homes now. Another large factor is the rental construction and competition from the condominium market. The statistics are that from October 2008 to September 2009, 15,657 rental units and 45,655 condominium units were completed in the major centres.

What does it cost to rent a two-bedroom apartment without utilities included in different cities? CMHC provides the statistics that the highest rents were in Vancouver at $1,169, Calgary is $1,099, Toronto is close to Calgary at $1,096, and Ottawa is $1,028. For the lowest average monthly rents you would go to Saguenay at $518, Trois-Rivières at $520 and lastly, Sherbrooke at $553.

Vacancy rates in October increased in eight out of 10 provinces. Alberta saw the largest increases were in Alberta, which was a 3 percentage points increase to 5.5%. British Columbia experienced a vacancy rate rise by 1.8 percentage points to 2.8%.

There was a vacancy rates decrease by 0.1% in Newfoundland and Labrador to 1%. Nova Scotia saw a decrease of 0.4% to 3.1%. The provinces that have been challenged by tougher economics seem to be weathering the storm better then their more affluent sister-provinces.

The centres with the highest vacancy rates in 2009 were Windsor with 13%, Abbotsford at 6.1%, Peterborough a 6%, Calgary came in at 5.3% and London with 5%. The tightest markets were Regina and Quebec at 0.6%, St. John's at 0.9%, Winnipeg with 1.1%, Kingston at 1.3%, and Victoria close behind with 1.4%.

Be sure to consider your tenant's insurance as a part of the overall cost of renting. You would not want to find yourself out on the street due to a fire in the neighbour's apartment. Consider carefully what you have for inventory and the cost of replacing all your clothing, linens, electronics, foodstuffs, etc. Spending approximately $20/month for peace of mind is something you need to seriously consider. Talk to your agent or broker.