The wait is over! View the September 2023 Rentsync National Rental Demand Report.
In this comprehensive national rental demand report, we outline significant changes in unique leads per property across Canada. The data presented here is the largest data-backed analysis of rental market demand in Canada using aggregate ILS data (over 20 rental listing sites).
The data included in the Rentsync National Rental Demand Report can be used to compare and contrast demand and lead volume for the properties you manage within a given city and will allow you to make more sound decisions on marketing and advertising.
As you observe demand and unique lead volume percentage, it's possible to measure this against your own metrics, and see whether you are in line with current industry trends, and if not, how to pivot your strategies as a result.
To present this data, Rentsync has determined three key calculations for each area of the report, they are as follows:
Demand Score: Our demand score is rated out of 10 (with 10 being the highest score a city can receive), and is calculated based on unique leads per property, per city, and compared against benchmark data.
For Example: If Surrey, BC received a demand score of 10.0 this month and 10.0 last month, then Surrey experienced no change in demand score this month.
Demand Percentage (% +/-): This is determined according to the year-over-year (YOY) or month-over-month (MOM) increase or decrease in unique leads per property.
For Example: The month-over-month unique leads per property in Surrey, BC went up -19% in June versus May, 2022 allowing it to maintain the top spot while maintaining the highest achievable demand score of 10. In June 2022, the year-over-year Demand Score in Surrey, BC went up 2.3 points representing an increase of 30% when compared to June 2021.
Position: The position is determined by unique leads per property, with cities that have at least *20 properties or more. The position will vary depending on demand.
For Example: This month, Surrey, BC remained at the top spot on the Top 50 Canadian Cities in Demand. Year-over-year Surrey, BC continued to remain in the top spot from last year.
*The following report provides month-over-month rental listing data for June 2022 versus May 2022, as well as a year-over-year comparison from June 2022 versus June 2021. It also outlines the month-over-month and year-over-year trends in primary, secondary, and tertiary markets.
Month-over-month (M/M): June saw a continuation of the market tightening seen in May with growth in rental interest across a majority of markets. Unique leads grew by +4.4%, and available properties declined by -0.8%, resulting in unique leads per property increasing by +5.3%. Renters have also begun to recognize the signs of tightened competition, and in turn increased lead submission rates, with the average prospect inquiring to 8% more properties in June when compared to May. Larger primary and secondary markets experienced the greatest growth in lead volumes in June, while tertiary markets began to lag with both property availability and unique leads decreasing. Overall, the month-over-month (June’22 vs May’22) market snapshots are as follows:
*Demand scores continue decreasing due to the top market in our demand report significantly outperforming other markets across Canada. Surrey’s disproportionate increase in unique prospects has in effect moved up the sliding scale of potential demand scores, which has the effect of reducing demand scores for markets which are not growing at the same rate as Surrey.
As property availability declines, the number of prospects continues to increase. Whether this is a seasonal effect or the result of the ever-growing barriers to homeownership, more people are driven to the rental market for housing. This has created a market wherein the existing supply of rental product will only further tighten and likely accelerate rental rates.
Year-over-year (Y/Y): Overall, in Canada, our multifamily demand score shows an increase of +25% in June 2022 versus June 2021. Both unique leads per property and property availability are down -36.7% and -42.3% respectively. This decrease is primarily due to the strong leasing activity experienced over the last 12 months, which allowed many of the properties left vacant during the pandemic to be released and taken off the market. The loss of prospects can also be partially attributed to the loss of the Facebook marketplace as a source of leads. Overall, the year-over-year (June '22 vs June '21) market snapshots are as follows:
*The year-over-year analysis indicates that rental demand has maintained an upward trajectory across primary and secondary markets. Due to strong leasing activity and maintained demand, rental markets have fully recovered from their pandemic lows. After several months of waning demand scores, tertiary markets have begun showing signs of slowing down, likely indicating lower renter interest in the months to come.
*Demand is determined by calculating unique lead volume per property by market. Due to a decrease in available properties in the rental housing market, this report will only highlight the top 40 cities in Canada based on our threshold that requires at least 20 properties to be included in our data sample.
Canadian cities experienced varying levels of change month over month; Primary and secondary markets experienced equal amounts of growth in renter traffic, while tertiary markets had approximately 1% fewer prospects month-over-month. Overall there was limited movement in the rankings of markets suggesting relatively stable conditions month-over-month.
*June brought about limited change to overall market conditions, however the higher overall prospects per property experienced by the top market have pushed down overall demand scores. Renter demand continues to trend upwards amongst the top 10 markets with the growth in total renter demand showing little signs of slowing down. Renters are beginning to recognize the increased competition for the shrinking supply of units and have shown an increase in average inquiries per user of 8% from May. Rental rates have also begun showing signs of tightening competition as with accelerated growth from previous months.
*Year over year we have seen the ongoing normalization of renter traffic and inquiry volumes. Demand scores are up on average +73% suggesting that markets have all but rebounded from their COVID-induced lows in 2021. Except for East York, Etobicoke, and Calgary, which have seen a growth in renter traffic of +14.8%, the average volume of prospects is down -41% year-over-year. Property availability is, however, down for all 10 markets with an average decline of -53%. Total properties and inquiries being down are likely the result of strong leasing activity over the last 12 months, which has enabled a majority of vacant units to be reoccupied.
Surrey continues to hold the number one spot from May. Whereas last year's top 10 list was primarily made up of tertiary markets, this month sees a greater number of secondary markets within the top 10 list. This has been an ongoing trend over the last quarter wherein the tertiary markets that experienced significant growth during the pandemic have seen much of their growth dissipate as renters return to larger communities with greater opportunities and amenities.
This has been a trend over the last quarter where renters have mostly returned to their preferred major markets; which stopped the trend of urban emigration experienced throughout the previous 2 years. Although tertiary markets remain strong attractors for younger families and older downsizers, the overall trend has shifted with a majority of renter focus directed at larger communities with greater amenitization.
To better segment our data and analyze what is happening within specific markets across Canada, we have broken down our data into 3 key market segments:
Here we will gain a deeper perspective on-demand across larger populations and any movement due to the impact of COVID-19 on the rental market.
In June, renter demand increased by +4.4%, while property availability decreased by a marginal -0.8%. This had the effect of increasing average prospects per property by +5.3%. Renters have recognized the increased competition they are facing and have begun submitting a greater number of inquiries when looking for new housing leading to greater overall lead volume.
The disproportionate increase in prospects relative to available properties is due in part to the growing unaffordability of home-ownership which continues to push more households towards renting which will only continue enlarging the pool of prospective renters over time.
*Overall unique leads per property increased by -5.9% in primary markets this month.
Primary markets experienced an increase of unique prospects identical to that of secondary markets at +4.6%, which in combination with a -1.2% reduction in property availability resulted in higher unique leads per property. Primary markets continue to represent a majority of the rental demand across the country with approximately 70% of all prospects inquiring about rentals within a primary market.
Demand scores are down -11% month-over-month primarily due to the higher unique lead volume achieved by secondary markets. This is in no way a reflection of waning interest within these communities as the three-month trend indicates strong continued renter demand with room for growth.
*Overall, year-over-year demand scores have rebounded compared to last year and have increased +39%.
Although demand scores are up year-over-year, they are also down 50% from the previous month's year-over-year calculations. This trend is due in part to the increase in leasing volume last June, as well as the gradual slowdown in demand scores from April to June 2022. The continued leasing of unoccupied units has also resulted in lower demand scores as more households are taken out of the prospective renter pool upon finding suitable rental accommodations.
*Secondary markets saw a decrease of -13% in demand scores, and an increase of +3.9% in unique prospects.
Much of this list is dominated by Ontario markets, with the exceptions of Surrey, which maintains the number one spot; Halifax as number 3; and Victoria in 8th place. These three represent standalone communities that do not rely on outside employment opportunities. Their self-reliance has enabled them to maintain a strong leasing trajectory and interest by prospective renters.
Rental rates continue to grow across the board suggesting strong and continued interest in secondary market rental product. Monthly rent growth has outpaced primary markets at +2.4%, which is 0.1% higher than the growth experienced in primary markets. Undisturbed by a return to office secondary markets show strong staying power.
Although there remains a clear preference amongst many to move back to primary markets. Smaller communities will continue to offer compelling housing options with larger unit sizes, more open layouts, and a large supply of multi-bedroom units. These are all factors which are becoming increasingly more important to many when making housing decisions.
*Overall, year-over-year demand scores are up +24%, while prospects are down -43.8% in secondary markets.
The significant increase in demand scores is primarily due to the loss of the Facebook Marketplace as a source of leads, which resulted in a shift in demand scores. This suggests that although overall leads are down the remaining sources of leads are outperforming this same period last year. Secondary markets have all but completely recovered from their pandemic lows as indicated by the strong yearly rent growth present across all secondary markets.
*Demand scores in tertiary markets varied the most and decreased by -15%.
Unique leads decreased by -0.9% and property availability decreased by -2.6%. These communities are experiencing a contraction in demand. This imbalance between property availability and prospects may be a temporary blip, however, with the gradual waning of demand in tertiary markets seen over the last 3 months we believe that it is likely indicative of a more long-term trend.
These are not negative for property managers as property availability continues to decline at a faster relative rate allowing for the continuation of a competitive leasing environment. Some markets will remain immune from this, such as Kingston, whose vacancy rates have declined so drastically, that there may be no properties available, which will in turn impact its ability to display within our rankings.
*Overall, year-over-year demand scores are down in tertiary markets by -7%. Unique prospects are down -45.3%, while properties are down -33%.
The higher decline in prospects than properties is likely due to the shift in focus for many households post-pandemic. Amidst the pandemic, many flocked to smaller communities. Whether to get away from the congestion of larger cities or to improve their access to green space, tertiary markets experienced substantial growth over the past 2 years. Since then much of this growth has been wiped away. Many households have returned to larger and better-amenitized markets. The push for a return to office further accelerated this by creating a need to be in proximity to employment centres, which once again disincentivized many from looking at tertiary markets for housing.
Although demand may be waning, this says little about their long-term trajectory. These communities offer substantial value for households who may not be required to live near work or want the quality of life offered by smaller communities.
As the summer progresses, so does the demand for purpose-built rental housing across the country. Although demand scores have wavered over the last few months, this did not affect the number of prospects, let alone their motivation to find new housing. Faced with a limited supply of available units, tightening vacancy rates, and growing rents, many are becoming increasingly more motivated and active when seeking a new home.
We continue to see a gradual decline in the number of available properties month over month, and in the case of smaller markets, fewer units. Many properties have limited availability, which provides limited opportunities in what is already a tight rental market. These factors, in combination with a growing number of households being turned away from home ownership due to increased interest rates and more strict mortgage approval rules, suggest that supply is likely to continue tightening, returning Canadian rental markets to unsustainably low vacancy rates.
The ongoing influx of would-be homebuyers into the rental market furthers the growing preference for larger multi-bedroom units. These units typically experience more muted month-over-month growth; however, they are now showing signs of rent acceleration, suggesting that they are likely to further strain affordability as more and more people compete for an ever-shrinking supply of rental product.
June continues the tightening of market conditions experienced in May, and will likely continue to persist well into the future as it is impossible to build and release a sufficient number of units quickly enough to maintain the growing demand across the country. This leasing season continues to become increasingly busier and represents an important opportunity for multifamily marketers to drive value to consumers and differentiate themselves from their competitors.
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