The vacancy rate in Halifax is still 1%, and rents are climbing at historic rates.

That’s according to the latest rental market report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), published Thursday.

“There was no relief for renters in 2022, as the vacancy rate was unchanged and average rent increased at the fastest pace on record,” senior analyst Kelvin Ndoro says in the report.

CMHC conducted a sample survey in October 2022 of buildings with at least three units.

The Crown corporation says average rents rose 8.9%. That’s the highest ever single-year increase, and four times the average growth. The average rent for a two-bedroom, according to CMHC, is up 9.3% to $1,449.

“The increase in average rent was highest in Dartmouth North, at 12.7%,” the report said.

“This area had the lowest overall average rent in the city ($1,040).”

Vacancy lower for affordable units

Vacancy rates are lower for more affordable units, between 0.6% and 0.8%. Units renting for between $850 and $949 were just 0.5% vacant.

In a news release, Katie Brousseau, community legal worker at Dalhousie Legal Aid, said the report reinforces what low income renters in the city already know.

“What this means is that low income renters have fewer options for housing. This is consistent with what we see at the clinic every day,” Brousseau said.

“We know that the number of Residential Tenancy applications being filed by tenants has gone up, and that is largely because tenants are looking to use every option they can just to stay housed.”

Brousseau called for increased government spending on public and private affordable housing.

“The increasing cost of living is having an impact on most households, but it is low income households who are feeling the biggest squeeze,” Brousseau said.

Zane Woodford is the Halifax Examiner’s municipal reporter. He covers Halifax City Hall and contributes to our ongoing PRICED OUT housing series. Twitter @zwoodford

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  1. Great article. A city that houses students on a fixed term basis will always drive the rental prices up and affect the vacancy rate. As the students move out of the building the price of unit is 200 more than it was. The price of growth.