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Rental vacancies in Waterloo region reach 20-year low: CMHC


It’s bad news if you’re looking for a place to rent.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) says the vacancy rate in Waterloo region has sunk to its lowest point in 20 years.

Of all the rental units in the region, just over one per cent are currently available and on the market.

“I almost have to go get a second full-time job to be able to afford to rent a place for my family,” Waterloo renter Joey Cousineau said.

The father of two is looking for a new place and is feeling discouraged. He’s currently paying $1,800 per month for a four-bedroom townhouse.

“To get something like this is like $2,500, at least, and there’s just no way to afford that, so I am going to have to downsize.”

There are a combination of factors fueling the rental crunch.

“We've seen more population growth through immigration,” said David Carruthers with CMHC. “We've also seen the continued return of students.”

Local realtor Shawn Ramautor said he believes recent interest rate bumps have also had a large impact on the market.

Waterloo resident Joey Cousineau and his family are looking for a new place to rent. (Submitted)

“Now these people who were looking to buy, they can't afford to buy, they can’t qualify, so it pushes them into the rental pool,” Ramautor said. “And then you also had a lot more people having to return to the office so they have to live closer to work.”

Many young people are also waiting longer to have kids and to get married, meaning they are living separately for longer, resulting in more competition and higher rental prices.

According to the most recent report from, the average listing prices for a one-bedroom unit in Kitchener was $1,968 last month – up 32 per cent year-over-year. The average two-bedroom was listed for $2,446 in January, up just over 28 per cent from this time last year.

For Cousineau, downsizing to what he can afford may cost him income too.

“I do scrap metal on the side, so I need the room. I own a truck and a trailer so I do lot of side jobs other than my full-time job so I need space to be able to do it. An apartment, I would have to get rid of everything,” he said. Top Stories

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