Manitoba, fuelled by rising migration into a diversified economy, is proving a rock of stability in the volatile multi-family rental market across the Prairies.
The latest stats from a national rental survey show that Manitoba’s rental vacancy rate remainz steady at 2.9 per cent while it has soared to 9.4 per cent in Saskatchewan and 8.1 per cent in Alberta, where some cities hit vacancies as high as 26 per cent.
Manitoba is also the only Prairie province where average rents increased from a year ago, according to the annual Rental Market Report from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC).
A key driver for Manitoba’s rental market is an increase in people moving into the province, CMHC stated.
During the first half of 2016, net migration to Manitoba increased 128 per cent year-over-year, to 8,455. Contributing to this growth was a 27 per cent surge in international migrants coming to the province at the end of the second quarter, the CMHC report said.
Winnipeg’s rental vacancy rate dipped to 2.8 per cent in October 2016, down from 2.9 per cent a year earlier, while average rents increased 2 per cent. The vacancy rate for rented condominiums is a tight 1.8 per cent. About 18 per cent of all condos in Winnipeg are rented out.
Portage la Prairie posted a vacancy rate of 4.7 per cent, ,the highest figure among all Manitoba centres in the survey. Brandon, Manitoba’s second-largest city, reported a vacancy rate of 3.3 per cent, up from 2.2 per cent one year earlier. By contrast, Thompson and Steinbach have vacancy rates of 1.1 and 1.3 per cent, respectively.
This compares with Saskatoon, where vacancy rates have hit a record-high 10.3 per cent, up from 6.5 per cent in 2015. Regina’s vacancy rate has increased to 5.5 per cent. In Estevan, which once had the lowest vacancies in Saskatchewan, the rate has soared to 27.6 per cent. Average rents remained unchanged across Saskatchewan from a year earlier.
Calgary’s vacancy rate is now 7 per cent, up from 5.3 per cent in 2015. Edmonton experienced an increase from 4.2 per cent to 7.1 per cent. The highest Alberta vacancies are in oil-dependent Cold Lake, at 26.2 per cent. Average rents across Alberta were down 5 per cent from a year earlier, CMHC reports.