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Sudbury's rent market tightens as demand exceeds supply

Greater Sudbury has a supply and demand problem when it comes to rental units in the city.

That was the local synopsis of a national rental market report released Friday by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

According to its findings, the city's vacancy rate now sits at 1.8 per cent, the lowest it's been in roughly 10 years.

The high level of demand compared to supply is putting pressure on rent increases, making it more expensive now to rent.

"If we look at the average two-bedroom apartment, the average rent has gone up about 8.4 per cent," said CMHC senior analyst Tad Mangwengwende.

"And that's within a period where there has actually been a recommendation to keep the rent increases at zero if you look at the recommendations from the Ontario board."

The report looked at several large cities across the country.

Mangwengwende said a lot of things are affecting what the city is experiencing, including a lack of affordable homes.

"When the housing market was able to provide some relief ... you'd typically have renters moving from being renters into homeowners because of the increases on the home ownership side -- we have a lot of renters remaining in the rental space," he said

And don't expect any relief in the next little bit. He's anticipating things will get worse before they get better.

"We have the pressure of more people coming in to demand rental space because as the economy opens up, more people are going to be able to afford rents. We're going to get an increase in jobs," he said.

Ward 5 Coun. Robert Kirwan is chair of the city's planning committee. He's been talking about the issue for some time on his Facebook page.

He's not surprised by the findings.

"It's not only a matter of lack of supply but it's also lack of quality supply," Kirwan told CTV News.

"There's a lot of rental units out there that people don't want to rent because the conditions just aren't that good. So because it's been around for awhile and there's a lot of people talking about it, I really do think that it's time to organize a major housing summit for the city."

Kirwan said if city council approved the idea, it would be good to bring everyone together with a vested interest in the issue and try to see if there is a solution that might be out there in the public worth considering.

"There's a lot of questions that have to be solved and I don't think the experts always have the answers," he said.

"I think if we brought in the developers, if we brought in the people that are looking for rental units, if we brought in the seniors who are living in homes and would like to have options that are close by. Bring them all into the same room and determine how we can solve this problem."

Kirwan said some of the most common complaints he's getting from constituents are waitlists for those waiting for geared-to-income housing, while for the seniors it's the supply.

He said he knows of some developments where the waitlists are 30 to 40 people long.

"We all seem to be waiting for someone to take the initiative and if we all got together for a housing summit, I think some of those answers would start to evolve," Kirwan said. Top Stories

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