OTTAWA -- Ottawa’s vacancy rate increased last year, but the cost to find a place to live jumped more than eight per cent.

A new report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation shows the apartment vacancy rate in the capital was 1.8 per cent in 2019, up from 1.6 per cent in 2018.

According to CMHC, the purpose-built rental apartment supply increased by 1,233 units. The report says “strong population, employment and earnings growth have remained supportive of housing demand benefiting the new, resale and rental market segments.”

By area, there was an increase in vacancy rates in Sandy Hill/Lowertown and the downtown area. 

The report by CMHC shows the vacancy rate for a bachelor apartment was 2.2 per cent, while the vacancy rate for a one-bedroom apartment was 1.7 per cent.

While the vacancy rate increased slightly, CMHC says the average cost to rent a two-bedroom apartment jumped 8.8 per cent last year.

The average cost of rent for a two-bedroom apartment increased to $1,410 in 2019, up from $1,301 in 2018. CHMC says asking rents in western Ottawa and surrounding areas, including Kanata, saw rents 62 per cent higher than the CMA average.

The average rent for a bachelor apartment was $933 a month, while a one-bedroom apartment cost $1,178 a month.

Across Canada, the vacancy rate for rental apartment units declined to 2.2 per cent in 2019, its lowest level for all bedroom types since 2002.