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Is demand for Ottawa rental homes heating up to critical levels?

by Ephraim Vecina 14 Aug 2018 MBN

Intensified demand and upward price spikes along with a rapid dwindling in vacancies have recently characterized Ottawa’s heating-up residential rental market, the newly released results of a fresh investigation conducted by the Ottawa Citizen suggested.

Blue Panda Realty real estate professional Steve Peippo said that a recent quantitative analysis he conducted stemmed out of the heightened competition amid surging rental-asking prices he has observed in Ottawa in recent months.

“It’s almost more challenging to find a rental than it is to find a purchase. And I’ve seen people get quite desperate,” Peippo recounted.

He stated that MLS data covering both May 2017 and May 2018 indicated a 14% increase in the average rental “sold” price of two-bedroom, one-parking spot residential rentals, from $1,739 to $2,018.

To compare, rent rates for the same property type grew by only 5% in the 2015-2016 interval, and 2% from 2016 to 2017.

Read more: Ottawa turning into GTA’s playground

Meanwhile, rental listing platform PadMapper (which only covers units already on the open market) indicated that a two-bedroom rental in Ottawa fetched a median price of $1,500 per month in June 2018, representing a 15% year-over-year increase and 3% from May.

Data from search portal Kijiji Canada also showed that the average rental price saw a 7% year-over-year increase in June 2018. In the same time frame, the number of Ottawa-Gatineau rental “wanted” ads on the platform grew by 17%.

“We do see activity on Kijiji as a barometer for what’s happening in the Canadian real estate industry,” head of real estate and jobs at Kijiji Canada head of real estate and jobs Greg Abramowitz said.

“There’s quite a lot being said in those numbers about the market in general and the competitive nature of it.”

The CMHC’s Rental Market Report is due to be published this fall, making 2018’s final numbers still uncertain. However, in 2017, the Crown corporation reported 1.7% vacancy for rental apartments in Ottawa, nearly less than half of the 3% in 2016. This was also the lowest vacancy level seen in the city in 6 years.

The 2017 edition of the CMHC report also noted that the average rent rate for a two-bedroom apartment in 2017 was $1,232, up from the previous year’s $1,200.

Related stories: Ontario cities with the least and most pricey homes

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