Vacancy rates are up for off-campus student housing in Waterloo.

A recent study says new student high rises combined with lower university enrollment rates have had an impact on the market.

Students say they are seeing deals and incentives when it comes to rent as there have been more units built than students enrolled in school.

“The management of my property, they keep on asking us to refer friends and saying that they'll give us discounts if we refer friends,” said Robert Talag, who lives in student housing.

Waterloo landlord Marco Visentin hasn't seen a competition like this before.

“I have to keep my prices down. I haven't changed my rates for three plus years now,” said Visentin.

“I'm reluctant to go any higher because I'm hearing other places are offering $25, $30 dollars cheaper than what I offer.”

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporationpredicts enrollment at Waterloo universities will decline over the next five years, pushing vacancy rates higher.

City officials saythey have already met with developers and landlords to see if they can fill the empty units by catering to a different market.

“There are people in the city who still struggle to find housing. So we need to close that gap and allow everybody that needs housing to find housing,” said Waterloo councillor Jeff Henry.

Officials say high rises currently being built close to the universities will be one and two bedroom units as developers try to attract young professionals working in the tech sector.

With reporting by Nicole Lampa.