With so many new properties on the market, it’s no surprise that the vacancy rate in Ottawa is up from 2.5 per cent in 2012, to 2.9 per cent in 2013’s analysis. Nepean, Vanier, and Sandy Hill top the charts at vacancy rates around three per cent. New Edinburg, Westboro, Carlington, and the Byward market, are all tied in the middle around 2-2.5 per cent, and the Glebe is the lowest at just over one per cent.
Despite the influx of immigrants to the city, the vacancy rate is at an all-time high because of a soft employment market. The typical rental demographic is young adults, and this past year has seen a decrease in employment opportunities for those aged 15-24. What does this mean? More than half of adults aged 20-24 are either still living with their parents, or have moved back home.
Another important factor that is affecting vacancy rate is mortgage rates. “Mortgage rates caused many first-time buyers to leave the rental scene,” says Sean Tasse, realtor with Keller Williams Home Team Ottawa. Tasse says, that this past year, he has seen many first-time buyers move out of their parents’ home and directly into their first home, completely skipping the rental limbo stage. With mortgage rates lower than they’ve been in years, and a threat of a sudden spike, buyers jumped on the opportunity to purchase a home.
In comparison to other major city centres, Ottawa still fares quite well. Moncton and St John have the highest vacancy rate at over 11%. Toronto and Vancouver seem to be the best at just over one per cent. Alberta is the only province whose vacancy rate actually decreased. It’s down from over three per cent to just above 1 per cent. Everyone really is moving west!
The scare of the most recent referendum has turned renters (and buyers) away from Gatineau. The vacancy rate is up from 3.3 per cent to 5.1 per cent, which is the highest it’s been in over 10 years. In fact, Hull, which is often referred to as an extension of Ottawa, saw the biggest jump in vacancy.
The results show that renters like new! Newer builds have a lower vacancy rate at 2.5 per cent, compared to homes built around the mid-20th Century, which have over 3 per cent vacancy. What does this mean for you? If you’re looking for an investment property, buy new. And if you want cheap rent, there’s lots of space in Hull!