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Stiff competition for rentals in Halifax as vacancy rate rests at 1%


Finding an apartment in Halifax these days is a bit of a scavenger hunt, and a bit of a puzzle.

“Only one person can get it. It’s definitely a game,” said resident Lauren McKenney.

When the rental market is this tight, it’s tough to squeeze in.

Months before school started, NSCAD student Quinn O’Connor responded to dozens of ads but few replied.

“With just Kijiji ads or Facebook market place,” O’Connor said.

She’s not alone.

“You email, you message, a lot of things. Nothing comes through,” said Gabriel Savard.

Cranes may dot Halifax’s skyline and more buildings are going up but it seems the vacancy rate isn’t rising with it.

“The vacancy rate now in Halifax is one per cent as demand has matched supply,” said Giacomo Ladas with “Turnover rate has dropped to its lowest level in five years which shows tenants have a reduced tenancy to move.”

Ladas notes its peak rental season as students rush to sign leases before the semester starts, the population is up and another jump interest rates may have pushed potential homebuyers to pause.

“So when you have this it creates a perfect storm, where we’re seeing the vacancy rates become as low as they are right now,” Ladas said.

Besides availability there’s also cost. It took Lauren McKenney three months to find a place.

“And even the one bedroom that I did find, which is really more like a studio, is pushing it rentwise,” said McKenney.

According to the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Halifax is now more than $1,800 a month, which is about a nine per cent increase from last year.

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