Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) conduct the Rental Market Survey(RMS) every year in April and October to estimate the relative strengths in the rental market. The survey is conducted on a sample basis in all urban areas with populations of 10,000 and more. The survey targets only privately initiated structures with at least three rental units, which have been on the market for at least three months. The survey collects market rent, available and vacant unit data from sampled structures.
The survey is conducted by a combination of telephone interviews and site visits, and information is obtained from the owner, manager, or building superintendent. The survey is conducted during the first two weeks of April/October, and the results reflect market conditions at that time.
CMHC is constantly reviewing the Universe of rental structures in the rental market Universe to ensure that it is as complete as possible. Every year, any newly completed rental structures with at least 3 rental units are added to the Universe. In addition to this, CMHC undertakes comprehensive reviews by comparing the Universe listing to other sources of data to ensure that the list of structures is as complete as possible.
CMHC’s Rental Market Survey provides a snapshot of vacancy and availability rates, and average rents in both new and existing structures. In October 2006, CMHC introduced a new measure for the change in rent that is calculated based on existing structures only. This estimate is based on structures that were common to the survey sample for the previous and the current Rental Market Survey. The change in rent in existing structures is an estimate of the change in rent that the landlords charge and removes compositional effects on the rent level movement due to new buildings, conversions, and survey sample rotation. The estimate of per cent change in rent is available in all Canada and Provincial Highlight reports. The rent levels in new and existing structures are also published. While CMHC publishes only those percent change in rents in existing structures which are statistically significant, changes in rents that one might calculate based on rent levels in new and existing structures may or may not be statistically significant.
A letter code representing the statistical reliability (i.e., the coefficient of variation (CV)) for each estimate is provided to indicate the data reliability. CV of an estimate is defined as the ratio of the standard error of the estimate to the estimate itself and the CV is generally expressed a percentage. For example, let the average rent for one bedroom apartments in a given CMA be x̄ and its standard error be σ x̄. Then the Coefficient of Variation is given by CV = σx̄ / x̄.