CMHC: Rental vacancies, prices edged up as COVID-19 spread across Canada

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TORONTO — Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says the rental market vacancy rate in the country’s big cities edged up alongside prices as COVID-19 spread.

The federal housing agency says the overall vacancy rate increased from two per cent in 2019 to 3.2 per cent in 2020.

The vacancy rates for Canada’s three largest metropolitan areas, Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver, rose to 3.4 per cent, 2.7 per cent and 2.6 per cent respectively, as they grappled with higher supply and lower demand.

CMHC says Toronto’s vacancy rate was at a 14-year high fuelled by job losses in the service and hospitality sectors, which tend to pay lower wages and employ younger workers.

The national average two-bedroom rent across cities with more 10,000 people rose 3.6 per cent to reach $1,165.

The report also looked at rent arrears for the first time and found that 32.5 per cent of apartment owners reported their arrears rate to have remained similar to 2019, 58.3 per cent said it was higher and almost 10 per cent found it was lower.

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