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Economic Viewpoint

Could Restricting Short-Term Rentals Help Alleviate Canada’s Housing Crisis?

December 4, 2023
Randall Bartlett, Senior Director of Canadian Economics • Kari Norman, Economist

Over the past year, Canada has had over 235,000 listings on popular short-term rental (STR) platforms. That’s equivalent to roughly 1.4% of Canada’s housing stock or 4.9% of its long-term rentals. At the same time, would-be renters across the country are struggling to find an apartment as the vacancy rate stands at just 1.9% and skyrocketing asking rents further erode affordability.

Studies overwhelmingly show that neighbourhoods with a high prevalence of STR listings have faster-rising rents, lower vacancy rates for long-term rentals, and higher home sale prices.

To help alleviate Canada’s housing crisis, governments should place some restrictions on commercial non-principal residence STRs. This would increase the number of owner-occupied units and units with long-term tenants. Moreover, policies should be widely communicated and strictly enforced with penalties to ensure high rates of compliance. And finally, STR hosting platforms should be held accountable and required to disclose their data.