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‘Dangerously low vacancy’ seen in rental housing: Saskatchewan Landlord Association

The Saskatchewan Landlord Association says the province is facing “dangerously low vacancy” in rental housing, responding to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s rental market report.

The report, released Wednesday, says Saskatoon has a two per cent vacancy rate and Regina has a 1.4 per cent vacancy rate.

According to the landlord association, the vacancy rate last year was 3.4 per cent in Saskatoon and 3.2 per cent in Regina.

“Saskatchewan is experiencing significant population growth and our rental market can’t build units fast enough to keep up with demand,” association CEO Cameron Choquette said.

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“There are areas of our major cities with vacancy below one per cent, which effectively means there are no places left to rent.”

Rent has also jumped in both cities, with the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) report saying an average two-bedroom unit in Saskatoon is $1,360 a month (up by nine per cent) and $1,301 per month in Regina (up by 7.9 per cent).

The association said these increases are due to inflationary challenges like increased property taxes, utilities and insurance.

“This report demonstrates that much more needs to be done to encourage and prioritize rental housing development so that we can capitalize on population growth and have enough homes for the people of Saskatchewan,” Choquette said.

“We’re recommending that PST be removed from purpose-built rental construction and that the Government of Saskatchewan invest in a program that supports the renovation and retrofitting of existing rental stock.”

CMHC pointed to several factors that contributed to market demand in 2023, which included more full-time employment in higher paying industries in science and technical services, wage growth and population growth from international migration that is offsetting the interprovincial migration.

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