RedERent August 12, 2021 Construction no responses

Despite the undeniably high demand for purpose-built rental (PBR) housing, the development of these types of buildings has been lacking in (and outside of) most large Canadian cities.

While the homeownership market (freehold and condominium housing) continues to keep crews busy, “PBR” housing remains a “someday maybe” priority for many a Town Hall/private developer; and the reality is, it’s been that way for the last 50 years.

In their recent article for The Financial Post, Murtaza Haider and Stephen Moranis point out that Halifax has been bucking the trend.

Now, before we get hate mail (although…it might still happen) reminding us of the incredible housing shortage in the city we want to say:
Yes. Absolutely, the growing demand for rental housing (particularly affordable and attractive rental housing) continues to outpace the actual development of rental housing.

The fact remains, however, that rental housing in HRM dominates residential construction. So, what is at the root of the focus on rental development? A number of factors, but there are two that Haider and Moranis cite which certainly grabbed our attention.

Halifax’s housing initiatives deserve examination since we believe that restricting landlords to rent raises by a certain level, also known as vacancy decontrol, and the introduction of the capital gains tax have been instrumental in constraining the supply of rental housing.

John Dickie, president of the Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations, pointed out that “until recently, Nova Scotia did not have rent control at all for rental apartments.” The exception was manufactured home lots. Vacancy decontrol was only introduced as a temporary measure in response to COVID-19.

This isn’t a new phenomenon. This has been a prefered business model for years and has lead to multi generational wealth and success in our city.

Haider-moranis Halifax Rental Starts Trend Line from "The secret behind Halifax’s ability to build purpose-built rental housing at a record pace | Financial Post"

Large real estate invenstors have taken notice (and root), making rental housing stock in HRM even more desirable.

Canadian Apartment Properties REIT (CAPREIT) in February 2020 announced the acquisition of eight apartment buildings in Halifax that added 1,503 rental dwellings to its local portfolio, which now comprises some 3,100 rental suites. With an average occupancy rate north of 99 per cent in the eight buildings, CAPREIT has been capitalizing on the strong demand for rental housing.

Halifax’s success with rental housing construction demonstrates how public and private entities may collaborate to build sufficient rental housing in places where the demand for rental housing is high. An absence of rent controls in the past, supportive socio-demographics, and imaginative homebuilders and rental investors have been critical to resolving the rental housing challenges.

To learn more and take a look at the full report we recomend checking out the full article from Murtaza Haider and Stephen Moranis here or visiting thier fantastic site at

Source: The secret behind Halifax’s ability to build purpose-built rental housing at a record pace | Financial Post

Murtaza Haider is a professor of Real Estate Management at Ryerson University. Stephen Moranis is a real estate industry veteran. They can be reached at the Haider-Moranis Bulletin website,

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