Vacancies on the Rise

Apartment vacancies are rising across Canada, especially in Toronto.

Last week the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation released figures showing that apartment building vacancy rates have risen to 3.1 per cent this year from 2.1 per cent last year mostly in part because of the competition from condominiums.

The amount of increase in residencies in condominiums and subsequent increase in apartment building vacancies is due to the significant increase in younger, first time buyers and low interest rates. First time buyers this year make up 57 per cent of the total market in 2009, a 24 per cent increase from 2008.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation expects that with most of the condominiums currently in construction becoming available next year, the vacancy rate is expected to climb even further to 3.3 per cent.

Despite the higher difference in price that condos have as opposed to renting an apartment, the amenities and locations offer a higher quality of life. The buildings are newer and well built, unlike most apartment buildings that were usually built with savings in mind long ago. Over 50 per cent of the apartment buildings that exist in the city were built between 40 and 50 years ago. A decline in immigration to the central Greater Toronto Area and a rising unemployment rate have also contributed to the increase in apartment vacancy rates.

The vacancy rate in the GTA is higher than other major cities, and the average vacancy rate across Canada has increased about 2.9 per cent over the past year.  The major urban centre with the lowest vacancy rate is Quebec City with 0.6 per cent, and the major urban centre with the highest vacancy rate is Windsor with 15.5 per cent.


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