Tag Archives: apartment

Residential Rentals Scarce in Barrie

April 7, 2012


Before most of us become homeowners, we rent apartments or sometimes houses. More often than not, however, many people are renting someone’s basement. As most people in Barrie know, the vast majority of basement (or “second suite”) units are technically not legal. In fact, there are only 676 registered second suites in the city. We all know the actual numbers are way higher.

Right now, CMHC is predicting an even lower than originally expected vacancy rate  at 1.5%, and it continues to drop as the number of bedrooms increases, like a 0% vacancy rate for 3 bedroom units. In comparison to other Ontario cities, Barrie has the lowest vacancy rate for 2- and 3- or more bedrooms.

Over the past several years, it is clear that there is a lot of construction happening in Barrie, but it’s mostly homes and condos. In fact, only 2 apartment buildings were constructed in 2011 (from CMHC report). Many residents seem to be against building rentals for some reason, but that only means people have to rely on those unregistered suites.

The unfortunate reality is that Barrie’s vacancy rate has been well below Ontario’s average for 20 years with the exception of 2008-2010. The good news is that our rental rates have remained within a few dollars of the Ontario average, but are generally $100-$150 above the national average. In 2011, the average cost for a rental in Barrie (registered, mind you!) was $1000.

We need to start attracting builders in Barrie to construct apartment buildings for rent. Especially considering our student population (recall my article on Student Housing in Barrie) is already having difficulty finding appropriate accommodation. And if/when the university is built in Barrie, think about all those students, professors and staff who will need a place to live. We also need to encourage the city to increase registered second suites. It will increase the tax revenue, and make those units a safer place to live for those tenants.


Laura Keller of Century 21 B.J. Roth Realty is a real estate agent with a business philosophy of nurturing relationships with her clients. She will walk you through the process of buying, selling, or investing step-by-step so there are no surprises at the end of your transaction.

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