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Montreal apartment vacancy rates hit 15-year low: report

Click to play video 'Montreal vacancy rates hit 15-year low' Montreal vacancy rates hit 15-year low
Vacancy rates for apartments in Montreal have hit lows that haven't been seen since the early 2000s. – Jan 15, 2020

Recent findings from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) report the average vacancy rate for Montreal in 2019 dropped to 1.5 per cent, the lowest it has been since 2005.

The findings show the average rent that tenants paid in 2019 was $841, a 3.6 per cent increase from the year before. For larger apartments, vacancies are even less, at 1.4 per cent for two-bedroom apartments and 0.7 per cent for three or more bedroom apartments.

Rose Forsos, a single mother to a child with autism who lives in Montreal’s Plateau-Mont-Royal borough, got an eviction notice from her landlord over the holidays.

READ MORE: As Montreal booms, city’s reputation for affordable apartments takes a hit

Forsos said she believes the city needs to intervene. “[They need] to stop these greedy landlords from putting the most vulnerable in the street,” she said.
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Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said she is working on helping the city’s most vulnerable during this housing crisis, but that funding for affordable housing starts with the provincial and federal governments.

“There have to be more solutions coming from the other levels of government,” Plante said. “That’s where the money is coming from.”

Forsos told Global News she would like to see a moratorium that would preclude landlords from evicting tenants when vacancy rates drop below two per cent.

READ MORE: Montreal to propose new rules to increase affordable housing

Housing rights advocate Maxime Roy-Allard said the city needs to begin constructing thousands of social housing units.

The CMHC’s report did show that the number of housing construction projects are increasing, but not meeting the demand.

Francis Cortellino, an economist with the CMHC, said that that is why vacancy rates have been decreasing for the last three years.

The CMHC’s sobering statistics show that rental apartment vacancy rates last year hit their lowest level since 2002 for all of Canada, after a third consecutive year of declines.

The federal housing agency says the national vacancy rate for purpose-built apartments was at 2.2 per cent, down from 2.4 per cent in 2018 for all bedroom types. The vacancy rate in condo rentals was at one per cent, down from 1.4 per cent.

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–With files from The Canadian Press and Global News’ Tim Sargeant

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