Apartment rents increase seven per cent
The average apartment rent in Moose Jaw increased by seven per cent in the last year, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing spring survey of the Saskatchewan rental market.
That meant shelling out $47 a month more, but the rental rates for different apartment sizes varies considerably. A two-bedroom apartment costs 9.8 per cent more, or $73 a month increase.
One-bedroom apartments were up by $19 a month to $631 a month while bachelor apartments were up by six per cent to $491 a month. Three-bedroom units in Moose Jaw are in such short supply, no data is available from the CHMC survey.
Moose Jaw’s vacancy rate dipped again from 1.9 per cent to 1.6 per cent and is the fourth lowest in Saskatchewan. A vacancy rate of five per cent is considered average, but only North Battleford and Saskatoon had vacancy rates that high of the nine cities surveyed.
North Battleford’s vacancy rate jumped from 3.4 per cent last April to 5.6 per cent. The oil city of Estevan has the second lowest vacancy rate in the province at one per cent. Regina is lowest at .6 per cent, followed by Yorkton at 1.4 per cent.
Reducing the vacancy rate and keeping a lid on rents only comes from more supply of rental units on the market, and people shifting into new housing.
Since last April, developers have added 292 apartments in Saskatchewan for 31,592 nights. Moose Jaw’s apartment stock was actually reduced from 1,185 to 1,160 during that period.
Grants of $10,000 per unit from the province and city are incentives to build. Moose Jaw has also stopped conversion of apartments to condominiums unless the vacancy rate is five per cent.
Development of three new apartments over the next few months will increase the apartment inventory.
The vacancy rate declined in five of the seven census areas surveyed for the data.
Strong oil drilling and agriculture in Swift Current knocked the vacancy rate down to 2.8 per cent from 9.6 per cent – the largest decrease. Average apartment rent in Swift Current is up by $77 to $679
Estevan’s vacancy rate fell from 2.5 per cent to one per cent while Lloydminster’s rate fell to 3.1 per cent from 4.1 per cent.
Prince Albert’s vacancy rate increased to four per cent from 3.4 per cent and Saskaoon’s vacancy rate increased to 5.3 per cent from 5.1 per cent. Ron Walter can be reached at ronjoy@ sasktel.net