According to the CMHC, 2011 Spring Survey, in the St. Catharines– Niagara CMA, vacancy rates were 4.8% for April, 2010 and decreased to 3.6% in April, 2011. The availability rate was 7.3% in April, 2010 and 5.5% in April 2011. A lower unemployment rate; modest employment gains; strong enrolment at the college and university and their demand for off-campus rentals; and increased demand from new, younger family immigrants in their early 30’s account for the lower vacancy rates. “The number of international migrants will rise, pushing up demand for rental accommodation. At the same time, the growth of the rental stock will remain limited.” The movement to home ownership placed upward pressure on the vacancy rate earlier in the year of 2011. The economic downturn resulted in more applications for affordable housing at the same time that fewer tenants were able to move from affordable housing into the private market.
In the CMHC’s, fall, 2010 Rental Market Survey Report, the vacancy rate for private rental apartment buildings with three or more units in St. Catharines-Niagara CMA remained stable and unchanged at 4.4% in 2010 (between 4.0 and 4.4 in the last 5 years). For a competitive rental market, a rental vacancy rate of at least 3% is considered necessary. Source: CMHC Rental Market Report; St. Catharines- Niagara CMA