The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation says the vacancy rate for apartments decreased in 2017 for the first time in three years.
The federal agency says the vacancy rate in Canadian cities with at least 10,000 people fell to three per cent in October, down from 3.7 per cent a year earlier.
That reverses increases in 2015 and 2016 and leaves the vacancy rate at its 10-year average.
Fewer apartments were available because of increased rental demand in oil-producing provinces along with improving employment among young adults, influx of immigrants and a slowdown in additional rental units.
Vacancy rates were lowest in B.C. cities of Kelowna and Abbotsford-Mission at 0.2 per cent and highest in Saskatoon at 9.6 per cent.
Metropolitan Vancouver was at 0.9 per cent, Toronto one per cent, Montreal at 2.8 per cent, Ottawa 1.7 per cent, Edmonton seven per cent and St. John’s 7.2 per cent.
The number of rental apartments increased by 1.2 per cent or 23,000 in the last year, about half the growth rate in the 2016 CMHC rental market report.
The average national monthly rent for a two-bedroom rental apartment rose 2.8 per cent to $989.
Rent increases were greatest in Kelowna at 8.6 per cent and fell by 1.3 per cent in Saskatoon and Edmonton.
Average monthly rents for two-bedroom apartments were highest in Vancouver ($1,552), Toronto ($1,404) and Calgary ($1,247). They were lowest in Trois-Rivieres ($594).
The average vacancy rate for condominium rentals declined to 1.6 per cent from 1.9 per cent a year earlier.
Average two-bedroom condo rentals were highest in Toronto at $2,000 and lowest in London, Ont., at $996.