Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hamilton Apartment Vacancy Rates Plunge

The Spec has a story about apartment vacancy rates plunging in Hamilton. The pertinent numbers:

"Overall, the October vacancy rate for the Hamilton-Burlington-Grimsby area's 42,431 apartments was 2.2 per cent, down sharply from 3.4 per cent a year earlier."

"The CMHC research shows the average rent for a two-bedroom suite in the Hamilton area rose to $959 a month in October from $932 for the same month last year. That's an increase of almost 2.9 per cent when the provincial rent control guideline is 0.8 per cent. 

Vacancy rates across the province were 2.3 per cent, down from 2.6 per cent for the same month a year ago." 

What's interesting is that the area's vacancy rate went from well above the province's vacancy rate to slightly below. That would seem to confirm my hypothesis that relative to the rest of the Ontario economy (which has been performing poorly with sub 2% GDP growth for several years) Hamilton has been doing quite well economically.

One issue with these numbers is that Burlington is included and is likely a way stronger market, for both average rents and for vacancy rates. I doubt Grimsby is material. However with the number of apartments being more numerous in Hamilton and the vacancy drop being so strong, Hamilton's market has to be strengthening.

The other factor is the rapidly rising housing prices in Hamilton. As the main alternative to renting an apartment is buying a house, strong house prices which Hamilton definitely has had, is going to drive down vacancy rates.

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