Kingston’s vacancy rate jumps to 1.9 per cent but rents continue to skyrocket: CMHC

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Kingston vacancy rate improves but rent prices drastically increase according to CMHC survey.

Kingston’s vacancy rate has more than tripled to 1.9 per cent for 2019, according to this year’s Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) rental market report.

Last year, Kingston’s vacancy rate was at a provincial low — coming in at 0.6 per cent.

“It was the first increase in five years after the vacancy rate had reached a 29-year low of 0.6 per cent in 2018,” according to the CMHC report.

READ MORE: Why finding a rental in Kingston can be frustrating

The report notes the vacancy rate has grown not due to an increase in available rental units in the downtown areas of the city, but rather due to an increase in supply in the outskirts of the city.

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In fact, demand in the city’s core, downtown, the southwestern portion of the city and the north end of the city has dropped. Nevertheless, in 2019, the CMHC noted that in the more rural areas of the central metropolitan area, 192 units were added.

Seeing as demand in the more central areas of the city has dipped, the report suggested some people may have left their downtown or midtown rental units and moved to the outskirts of the city, where new rental units were opened.

READ MORE: Rental vacancy in Kingston 0.6%, lowest in Ontario, says survey

Unfortunately, the increase in vacancy rates hasn’t led to a reduction in rents.

Average rents in Kingston have jumped by 7.9 per cent from last year, to over $1,200 monthly payments, a jump much higher than the provincial average, which stands at 1.8 per cent.

“The 7.9 per cent increase was the highest rate of growth since we started collecting rent data,” the report noted.

The average rent for a bachelor apartment is just over $800 and a two-bedroom apartment runs for just under $1,300.

The report did note that in October, after the CMHC created their analysis for 2019, 300 more units were added to the city, which will be counted as part of the 2020 numbers since the organizations do their analysis once a year in October.

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