Average rent down 8.1 per cent in Canada year over year: National Rent Report

The average rent for all Canadian properties in October increased .7 per cent month over month to $1,782, after four months of almost no change, according to Rentals.ca’s and Bullpen Research & Consulting’s latest National Rent Report.

According to the report, tear over year, the average rent for all property types listed on Rentals.ca in the country is still down — by 8.1 per cent in October.

“The average rent in Canada trended up in October, which we partially attribute to an increase in new purpose-built rental apartment listings,” said Matt Danison, CEO of Rentals.ca. “We continue to see an increase in listings nationally, which tells us that supply is outpacing demand. This market imbalance suggests soft rental market conditions will continue for the rest of the year.”

Toronto finished second on the list of 35 cities for average monthly rent for a one-bedroom home in October at $1,922 and for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom at $2,531.

Month over month, average rent for a one-bedroom was down 2.3 per cent and down 1.5 per cent for a two-bedroom. Year over year, average monthly rent for a one-bedroom was down 17.3 per cent in October and down 14 per cent for a two-bedroom.

North York finished first on the list of 35 cities for average monthly rent for a one-bedroom home in October at $1,945 and third for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom at $2,459.

Month over month, average rent for a one-bedroom was up 7 per cent and 12.4 per cent for a two-bedroom. Year over year, rents are down slightly for both a one- and two-bedroom home.

Mississauga came in fourth for average monthly rent for a one-bedroom home at $1,877 and seventh for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom at $2,150. Year over year, average monthly rent for a one-bedroom was down 5.6 per cent and 10.2 per cent for a two-bedroom.

Etobicoke finished fifth on the list for average monthly rent for a one-bedroom home in October at $1,861 and fourth for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom at $2,306. Year over year, average monthly rent for a one-bedroom was down 9.1 per cent and 8.9 per cent for a two-bedroom.

Burlington came in sixth for average monthly rent for a one-bedroom home at $1,849 and 12th for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom at $2,043.

York finished seventh on the list for average monthly rent for a one-bedroom home in October at $1,753 and fifth for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom at $2,272. Year over year, average monthly rent for a one-bedroom was down 6.6 per cent and 8.5 per cent for a two-bedroom.

Vaughan came in 10th for average monthly rent for a one-bedroom home at $1,638 and for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom at $2,051.

Month over month, average rent for a one-bedroom was down 5.3 per cent and 3.7 per cent for a two-bedroom. Year over year, average monthly rent for a one-bedroom was down 13.1 per cent and 17.5 per cent for a two-bedroom.

Scarborough finished 11th on the list for average monthly rent for a one-bedroom home in October at $1,632 and 15th for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom at $1,958.

Brampton came in 14th for average monthly rent for a one-bedroom home at $1,567 and 17th for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom at $1,892.

Oshawa finished 18th on the list for average monthly rent for a one-bedroom home in October at $1,487 and 24th for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom at $1,577.

For a one-bedroom in Oshawa rents average rents were up 9.4 per cent monthly and 10 per cent annually, while for a two-bedroom rents were down 5.1 per cent monthly and 7.6 per cent year over year.

As several of Canada’s major cities see declining rental rates, other secondary markets are seeing rents increase. Demand is down and supply up overall, but demand is shifting geographically.

Data backs up the “Urban Exodus” theory in Ontario, with average rents declining by 8 per cent in North York, 15 per cent in Etobicoke, 17 per cent in Toronto and 20 per cent in East York, while cities such as Kitchener, Hamilton and London are still seeing double-digit rent growth during the pandemic with annual increases of 14 per cent, 15 per cent and 17 per cent respectively.

As more tenants work from home, they continue to look for larger, but less expensive units in smaller communities, according to the report.

“The rising rents in several smaller municipalities, as well as the significant increase in web traffic on Rentals.ca in Ontario suggests many prospective tenants are widening their search area when looking for a rental property,” said Ben Myers, president of Bullpen Research & Consulting, “With many choosing to go back to where they grew up or attended university to avoid the lofty Toronto area rental rates.”

Toronto, Vancouver, Mississauga, North York, and Oakville saw monthly rent levels decline 5 per cent to 17 per cent in October 2020, while in October of last year, all of those areas experienced increases of 5 per cent to 14 per cent.

Toronto rents have continued to nosedive with one-bedroom units down 17 per cent year over year and declining every month since January and two-bedroom units down 14 per cent annually and declining month by month since July.

North York has the most expensive one-bedroom units, topping both Toronto and Vancouver, as a number of new purpose-built apartments are starting pre-leasing programs, pulling the average up.

Toronto finished second — for the first time on this list — for average monthly rent for a one-bedroom home. It’s the second straight month average rent for a one-bedroom has been under $2,000.

Rents for condominium and rental apartments in Vancouver have declined year over year with one-bedroom suites down 3 per cent and two-bedroom suites down 6 per cent.

The less expensive markets are even getting cheaper, with rent declines in Regina and Saskatoon year over year.

But in Montreal year-over-year average monthly rents are up 15 per cent for a one-bedroom unit and 9 per cent for a two-bedroom.

Access to groceries is a top priority for prospective tenants followed by proximity to transit in the Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs), according to data from Local Logic in Montreal.

Since March, when pandemic fears accelerated, tenants have shown a greater interest in being close to grocery stores, a desire to be in a quiet neighbourhood, and being in proximity to parks, which is much needed when many activities are shut down due to COVID-19.

On the flip side, with fewer people commuting to work, the desire for car-friendly and transit friendly locations have subsided slightly in October 2020 compared to March 2020.

From April to October the average rent is down in five of the seven rounded unit sizes in Ontario in the graph below. Combined, rents are down 2 per cent annually. The biggest decline occurred for 600-square-foot units, which dropped 5 per cent annually from $1,871 per month on average to $1,782 per month.

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