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Vacancy rates increase to 1.8 per cent

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The apartment vacancy rates for Manitoba and its largest city — Winnipeg — inched a little higher over the winter, according to a spring market survey by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

The national housing agency said the overall vacancy rate for the province’s six largest cities — Winnipeg, Brandon, Portage la Prairie, Thompson, Steinbach and Winkler — climbed to 1.8 per cent in April from 1.6 per cent in October and 1.2 per cent in April of last year.

Similarly, the vacancy rate for the Winnipeg Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), which includes Winnipeg and 10 neighbouring municipalities, rose to 1.9 per cent from 1.7 per cent in October and 1.2 per cent in April 2012.

"New rental supply combined with an increased outflow of Manitobans to other provinces and tenants moving to home ownership contributed to the rise in vacancies," said Dianne Himbeault, CMHC senior market analyst in Winnipeg.

In Winnipeg’s case, it was a combination of renter households moving to home ownership and weaker net migration in the latter half of 2012 , Himbeault said.

"Winnipeg also saw the addition of 557 units to its rental apartment universe between April 2012 and April 2013," she added.

In its most recent housing market forecast, released last February, CMHC predicted Winnipeg’s vacancy rate would rise to 1.9 per cent this year and would climb above two per cent next year for the first time in more than a decade.

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