First, the disclaimer. I am a realtor licensed to sell real estate in Calgary, Alberta (residential, commercial and rural) but I am not a licensed property manager and do not assist with renting property. Ok. That's done.
I do however, keep an eye on all indicators that would assist my clients in making their real estate decisions. One of the numbers I keep an eye on are rental rates.
CMHC publishes vacancy rates, but they are only for as-built properties, you know, those big residential rental buildings and such. They don't track individual owners renting out their homes or someone renting out a secondary property. The only way to keep an eye on these is information posted on various rental sites. One of bits of info posted that I watch is from, Rentfaster.ca, which is the best local site in my opinion for folks looking to rent. It doesn't include all but it is a good trend indicator.
The item I am most looking at is the number of houses for rent. The format has changed over time but worth a comparison.
This is a screenshot from Oct 24, 2017. - 1107 houses available.
I took a screenshot March 24, 2018 below. - 768 houses available.
This timeframe matched an upturn in our market where activity was increasing and also pricing in most areas. We were thinking we were finally recovering. (click to view larger image)
And another the other day from Sept 17, 2018. - 1222 houses available. As inventory began significantly increasing in early summer until how the increase in resale homes has also shown up in the rental inventory. (click to view larger image)
The increase inventory for rental houses is matching the inventory increase for resale homes. On the flip side, the same trend isn't matched for condos. On the resale market as well condos seem to have hit a plateau of sorts for the time being. The condo inventory (rental, resale, new construction and pre-sale) is a whole other beast.
As a seller the option to just 'rent it out' until things improve isn't as cut and dry as it sounds.
It would my pleasure to help you achieve your real esate goals.