Prices for rental housing in Yellowknife have declined slightly this year, thanks in part to a sluggish economy and an out-migration of residents.

According to data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Commission (CMHC), the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Yellowknife was $1,636 per month in October 2016, compared to $1,671 in October 2015 – a decline of about 2.2 per cent.

That drop is partly due to the roughly 206 people who have have left the territory so far this year. Net migration was also negative in 2015.

“A rising vacancy rate has induced some landlords to offer rent reductions,” states the CMHC report.  “A decrease in the average rent was evident across most unit types in the city except for bachelor units.”

The CMHC does not track data for most other Northern communities, such as Iqaluit, where residents likely pay even more rent.

MORE HOME BUYING

The increase in the rental vacancy rate in Yellowknife is also partly attributed to renters moving and purchasing homes.

“To the end of September, total sales activity in Yellowknife increased 50 per cent from the same period a year earlier,” the report states.

More apartment units have become available in the city thanks to the influx of home buyers; 4.2 per cent of units in the city were vacant as of October 2016, rising by 2.3 per cent since that time last year.

MOST EXPENSIVE RENT IN CANADA

Yellowknife tenants pay the highest average rent in Canada according to the CMHC.

Despite the drop in demand and prices for prospective tenants, renters in Yellowknife still need to come up with about $200 more per month than tenants in Toronto and Vancouver to make rent.

The average rent for one a two-bedroom unit in Yellowknife is $1,636 per month. In Vancouver, a similar unit costs $1,450, and in Toronto, the rent would be $1,327, according to CMHC data.

Though Yellowknife officially topped the list, other Northern communities like Iqaluit may pay even more rent.

However, such remote locations are not tracked by the housing commission.