A recent survey from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has revealed Saskatoon’s rental vacancy rate fell more than 2.5 percentage points.
The rate, which is listed at 5.7 per cent, is the lowest level the city has seen in three years.
Along with a dwindling supply, rental rates have slightly increased in all housing categories.
The CMHC report said a number of factors could explain the lower vacancy rate including 5,600 jobs added and stricter mortgage qualification rules forcing potential homeowners into the rental market.
A report done by the City of Saskatoon stated there have been drops in the vacancy rate below 3 per cent as recently as 2013 and below 1.5 per cent in 2007.
A local housing organization said there is demand for larger, detached homes which are quickly becoming unaffordable.
“You’re looking at the $2,000 range at least for a four or five-bedroom house. Not everyone can afford that for one. And two, it is very competitive. There’s a lot of people looking in that range and in that category,” said Saskatoon Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) housing relationship manager Thomas Miller.
He added the number of listings on short-term rental sites could play a factor in monthly rental rates, which on average increased in value to $1,046 from $1,024 last year.
There are about 600 Airbnb listings in Saskatoon.
Of those, approximately 60 per cent are entire homes, basement suites, townhouses or apartments.
An Airbnb spokesperson said some of those listings are the owner’s primary home.
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The company said a typical space is rented for 90 days per year.
A report on how the City of Saskatoon can regulate short-term rentals is set to be presented at the municipal planning commission meeting on Jan. 28.