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Vacancy Rates for Rental Housing

“Maintain an average rental housing vacancy rate of 3%” measures success in maintaining a generally acceptable level of rental accommodation.

How are we doing?

In October 2017, the rental vacancy rate decreased from 10.3% in 2016 to 9.6%. Over the last ten years the vacancy rates for Saskatoon average out to 4.41%, very close to the target of 3%. 

Data Table
City of Saskatoon Vacancy Rates
  2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 ...2023
Vacancy Rates (%) 4.6 3.2 0.6 1.9 1.9 2.6 2.6 2.6 2.7 3.4 6.5 10.3 9.6  


The target measures success in maintaining a generally acceptable level of rental accommodation. Vacancy rates below 3.0% generally indicate a limited supply of rental housing and can lead to rising costs for renters. Affordable, appropriate, and secure housing contributes to healthy and economically viable communities.

Vacancy rates = Total number of vacant rental units /Total number of rental units available

How are other cities doing? 

Saskatoon’s 2016 vacancy rate was higher than the rate in other Western Canadian cities and higher than the 3.7% national average of Canada’s 35 largest cities. 


2016 Rental Vacancy Rate

Calgary    Edmonton    Regina    Winnipeg   
7.0% 7.1% 5.5% 2.8%


What do we need to do to achieve this target?

The City will influence a healthy vacancy rate by

  • Permitting the creation of new and legalizing existing secondary suites that meet required standards
  • Implementing the infill strategy which allows garage and garden suites
  • Achieving the target of 500 units annually under the Housing Business Plan with a cost of approximately $2 million annually 

What are the benefits of achieving the target? 

Through achieving a healthy vacancy rate, residents will have access to more variety of appropriate and affordable housing thereby facilitating the opportunity for them to contribute to our community and economy. Groups that directly benefit from the achievement of this target include the following:

  • Temporary workers
  • Métis and Off-reserve First Nations people
  • New immigrants to the city
  • Single parents
  • Young people entering the workforce
  • Post-secondary students
  • Low and moderate income individuals and families

When people have appropriate housing, everyone benefits and the quality of life in Saskatoon remains high. 

What are the risks? 
Several factors influence the city’s ability to achieve this target: 
  • Funding commitments from other levels of government for housing programs 
  • The willingness of non-profit housing providers and private home builders to create new rental properties 
  • Higher economic growth and more migration into the City than expected 
  • Other economic factors such as interest rates, mortgage and lending rules, the supply of skilled labour, and demand for rental housing
  • Slower economic and population growth can result in an oversupply relative to demand

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