Rental Housing Market Information and Products
Canadian Property Valuation Magazine
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By Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
As Canada’s authority on housing, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need, and offers objective housing research and information to Canadian governments, consumers and the housing industry. CMHC contributes to stable housing markets by providing information that helps businesses, governments and the public make informed decisions about housing.
CMHC is committed to expanding both the extent and the usefulness of housing data and analysis that is publicly available. It recognizes that there are significant data and information gaps, and is working to identify and, where appropriate, fill them.
For members of the Appraisal Institute of Canada (AIC) and their clients, the ability to make sound business decisions regarding investment and development of Canada’s rental housing market can depend on the availability of market data and analysis that is geographically relevant, accurate and up to date.
CMHC conducts several surveys which, together, provide a comprehensive, timely and informative picture of Canada’s rental markets. CMHC’s suite of rental market products is comprised of three main subject areas: the Primary Rental Market, the Secondary Condominium Rental Market and the Secondary Non-Condominium Rental Market. This article provides an overview of the information available in all three areas from CMHC and includes the most recent survey results.
Primary rental market
CMHC conducts the Rental Market Survey (RMS) in the spring and fall. This survey gathers information on the primary rental market in urban areas with a population of at least 10,000. The primary rental market, in general, refers to privately-initiated structures that are intended to supply the rental market. The RMS specifically targets privately initiated structures with at least three rental units, which have been on the market for at least three months. All other structures that supply the rental market are considered to be part of the secondary rental market, which is discussed in greater detail below.
The RMS is conducted by a combination of telephone interviews and site visits, and information is obtained from the owner, manager, or building superintendent for all sampled structures. The information collected provides a snapshot of vacancy rates and average rent levels for the primary rental market. A measure for the change in rent from the previous year is also calculated, based on structures that were common to both the previous and current year`s survey.
Rental Market Survey Reports are available at various geographic levels, including National and Provincial Highlights publications, which provide information for Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) and Census Agglomerations (CAs) in spring and fall editions. Rental Market Reports for Major Centres provide finer geographic breakdowns and are published once a year in the fall. Detailed rental market information is also available through CMHC’s web-based Portal.
Figure 1: Primary Rental Market Vacancy Rate, October 2013 and October 2014
Figure 2: Primary Rental Market Average Rent, October 2013 and October 2014
Secondary rental market – condominiums
CMHC also conducts a Secondary Rental Market Survey (SRMS) each fall. This survey gathers information on those dwellings not covered by the regular RMS, including rented condominiums. Rented condominiums can be of any dwelling type, but are primarily condominium apartments. There are two main component surveys dedicated to the condominium rental market: The Condominium Apartment Rent Survey of a sample of households living in condominium apartments which collects information on rents, and; the Condominium Apartment Vacancy Survey of a sample of condominium apartment owners, managers or building superintendents which collects vacancy information.
Rented condominium apartments are surveyed in the following 11 CMAs: Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal and Québec. CMHC publishes information on the number of units rented and vacancy rates for rented condominiums in all 11 CMAs, and average rents for rented condominiums in 9 of 11 CMAs. This information is published in the fall Rental Market Reports, Canada and Provincial Highlights as well as the fall Rental Market Reports of the respective major centres. Historical data is available back to the reference year of 2006, when the SRMS was introduced, although rented condominium data is not available over that time frame for all 11 CMAs, as some jurisdictions were introduced later than 2006. Detailed condominium rental market information is also available through CMHC’s web-based portal.
Figure 3: Rental Apartment Condominium Vacancy Rates compared to Conventional Market Apartment Vacancy Rates, October 2014
Figure 4: Share of Rented Condominium Units, October 2013 and October 2014
In addition, in the fall of 2014, the Condominium Apartment Vacancy Survey introduced a new question for property managers, which asks for information on the total number of condominium apartment units owned by people whose permanent residence is outside of Canada. This provides an estimate of the foreign investor rate in the 11 CMAs surveyed. This survey question does not differentiate among rented condominium units and owner-occupied condominium units, so it provides an estimate of foreign ownership of all condominium apartments.
Figure 5: Foreign Share of Condominium Apartment Units in Selected CMAs, October 2014
The following letter codes are used to indicate the reliability of the estimates:
a – Excellent, b- Very good, c – Good, d – Fair (Use with Caution)
** Data suppressed to protect confidentiality or data not statistically reliable.
++ Change in rent is not statistically significant. This means that the change in rent is not statistically different than zero (0).
n/u: No units exist in the universe for this category n/s: No units exist in the sample for this category n/a: Not applicable
Secondary rental market – other, non-condominium housing types
In addition to information on the rented condominium apartment segment of the rental housing market, the SRMS also collects information on other rental dwellings not covered by the regular RMS. This includes rented single-detached homes, rented semi-detached (double) homes, rented freehold row/town homes, rented duplex apartments (i.e., one-above-other), rented accessory apartments (separate dwelling units that are located within the structure of another dwelling type), and one or two apartments which are part of a commercial or other type of structure.
These types of non-condominium, secondary rental market dwellings are the subject of CMHC’s Household Rent Survey of households that dwell in these units, which collects information on rents. This survey is conducted in the 16 centres of Abbotsford, Barrie, Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montréal, Ottawa, Québec, St. John’s, Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Kelowna, Vancouver and Victoria. Detailed results are published in the fall Rental Market Report for the particular major centres, and is also available through CMHC’s web-based portal.
Figure 6a: Non-Condominium, Secondary Rented Unit Average Rents ($) by Dwelling Type in Selected CMAs, October 2014
Figure 6b: Non-Condominium, Secondary Rented Unit Average Rents ($) by Dwelling Type in Selected CMAs, October 2014
Further information on CMHC’s web-based Housing Market Information Portal
The web-based portal lets the housing industry, policy makers, stakeholders and consumers access a wealth of housing market information in one easy, free location. The portal significantly improves the ability of CMHC’s Market Analysis Centre to provide timely, relevant and transparent information on Canada’s housing markets to help CMHC’s clients make more informed decisions.
The portal is organized around four different views, allowing visitors to get the information they need in the way that works best for them. Each of the four views features an interactive map of Canada that users can click on to focus on specific areas of interest, from a particular neighbourhood to a municipality, a province or all of Canada. For more details or to view the new portal, visit www.cmhc.ca/hmiportal.
Highlights of the Housing Market Information Portal
- The Housing Market Information Portal contains housing market data and analysis from 1990 through to today and is updated regularly with the latest results from various housing market surveys.
- The portal offers detailed data for thousands of geographic locations across Canada.
- As a result, the portal contains hundreds of thousands of potential tables, charts and maps, many of which can be customized to the specific needs of almost any client or user.
The Condominium Apartment Rent Survey does not collect rent data for Regina and Saskatoon because the number of rental condominiums in these two CMAs is not sufficient to derive rent estimates.