SAINT JOHN, N.B.- A new survey on vacancy rates puts Saint John at the bottom of a list of 35 major cities.

The document from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation says the Port City’s rate is at 9.7 percent – a ten-year high.

CMHC spokesman Claude Gautreau says there’s one main reason for the higher rate. “You see that the population in Saint John is fairly stagnant, it’s not really growing as fast”, says Gautreau. “So when you don’t have that growth you’re not going to have that increase in demand in housing, in particular the rental market”.

The national average is 2.6 percent.

Gautreau says Saint John’s rate has been traditionally higher than the average – at 5-to-6 percent – over the last ten years.