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The apartment rental market across Canada continues to tighten, and Ottawa is no exception. Each year, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) conducts a study of the latest rental market conditions, and this year it has revealed that it's getting harder and harder to find an apartment for rent in Ottawa.

Of course, when you choose Paramount Properties, you're working with the best property management company in the city - and we'll do our very best to find the perfect Ottawa apartment rental for your needs and lifestyle.

The following are some of the highlights of this year's CMHC study:

Apartment Rental Demand on the Rise

Overall, rental demand increased in Ottawa during 2008. To start, high housing prices and growing economic uncertainty dampened the demand for owning a home, causing more people to consider renting an apartment (or to simply stay in their current rental units as opposed to moving out).

As well, strong youth employment has given young people more opportunities to move out of the home and find a rental unit of their own. These changes caused the vacancy rate (the percentage of apartments that are unoccupied and immediately available to rent) to drop sharply to 1.4 percent from 2.3 percent in 2007 - the lowest vacancy rates in Ottawa since 2001.

Ottawa Apartment Vacancies by Neighbourhood

If you're looking to rent an apartment in some of the "trendier" areas of the city, you might want to get the rental application started now, as there will be plenty of competition for an apartment in these neighbourhoods. An empty apartment is a rare sight in the Westboro / Britannia area, where the vacancy rate is 0.7 percent. Similarly low vacancy rates can be found in New Edinburgh / Manor Park and Sandy Hill / Lowertown.

The highest vacancy rates can be found in Vanier, at 3.3 percent. However, regardless of where you look, vacancy rates have dropped in every single neighbourhood in Ottawa during 2008.

Vacancy Rates by Neighbourhood:

  • Westboro South / Britannia - 0.7 percent
  • New Edinburgh / Manor Park - 0.7 percent
  • Sandy Hill / Lowertown - 0.8 percent
  • Alta Vista / Hunt Club - 1.1 percent
  • Glebe / Old Ottawa South - 1.1 percent
  • Gloucester / Cumberland - 1.1 percent
  • Downtown Ottawa - 1.3 percent
  • Westboro North / Chinatown / Hintonburg - 1.6 percent
  • Carlington / Iris - 1.9 percent
  • Nepean / Kanata - 2.2 percent
  • Vanier - 3.3 percent

Ottawa Apartment Rental Rates on the Rise

Neighbourhoods closer to the downtown core (such as Sandy Hill, Glebe, and New Edinburgh) experienced the strongest rental activity in 2008. Not surprisingly, the highest average rent in Ottawa is also found in the Sandy Hill / Lowertown area ($1,019 for a two-bedroom apartment). In comparison, the lowest rent could be found in Vanier, where tenants paid an average of $729 each month.

The average monthly rent also increased across all different types of apartment units, as outlined below:

Average Monthly Rental Rates by Apartment Type:

  • Bachelor Apartment - $671 / Month
  • 1-Bedroom Apartment - $827 / Month
  • 2-Bedroom Apartment - $995 / Month
  • 3-Bedroom Apartment - $1,227 / Month

Rental Market Outlook for Ottawa in 2009

It is expected that a combination of continuing strong rental demand and low supply will push the vacancy rates in Ottawa even lower in 2009, down to an estimated 1.0 percent. In addition, monthly rental rates for two-bedroom apartments will likely grow by approximately 3.0 percent in 2009. The good news is that this is a smaller rent increase than the one between 2007 and 2008.

Canada-Wide Rental Market Trends

The average apartment vacancy rate across the entire country decreased again this year, dropping down to 2.2 percent in October 2008 from 2.6 percent in October 2007.

The Canadian cities with the highest apartment rental vacancy rates in 2008 were Windsor (14.6 percent), St. Catharines (4.3 percent), and Oshawa (4.2 percent). Meanwhile, the lowest vacancy rates in the country were all found out west, with Kelowna (0.3 percent), Victoria (0.5 percent), and Vancouver (0.5 percent) being the toughest cities in Canada in which to find an available apartment for rent.

When compared to other major cities in Canada, Ottawa's apartment rental vacancy rate of 1.4 percent was better than Vancouver (0.5 percent), but ranked lower than Toronto (2.0 percent), Calgary (2.1 percent), Montreal (2.4 percent), and Edmonton (2.4 percent).

While this means it's slightly more difficult to land an apartment in Ottawa, it also proves that Ottawa is an exceptional place to rent an apartment - nobody wants to move out!

The highest average monthly rents for a two-bedroom apartment in Canada were found in Calgary ($1,148), Vancouver ($1,123), and Toronto ($1,095). The country's lowest average rents were all located in Quebec - Trois-Rivieres ($505), Saguenay ($518), and Sherbrooke ($543). In comparison, Ottawa's average rent in 2008 was somewhere right in the middle at $995.

The Advantage of Renting in Ottawa

So, what do all these numbers mean for people searching for an apartment for rent in Ottawa? Overall, Ottawa is about middle of the road in terms of vacancies and rent prices - that is, it isn't as hard to find an apartment in Ottawa as it is in the western provinces, but there are less available units in the city than there are elsewhere in Ontario. However, even though there are fewer vacancies, the rent is actually cheaper than it is in Toronto.

Combined with all of the great amenities and attractions already found in the National Capital Region, Ottawa is still a very attractive destination for apartment renters in Ontario.

Looking for an apartment to rent in Ottawa?

Paramount Properties is Ottawa's second largest residential property management company. With more than 7500 Ottawa apartment rentals available in some of the city's finest locations, we're your #1 choice for an Ottawa apartment.

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