Average rent down 9% in Canada year over year: report

The average asking rent for all Canadian properties listed on Rentals.ca in April was $1,675 per month, a decrease of $167 or 9 per cent from $1,842 in April of last year and down 1 per cent monthly.

Since hitting a high of $1,954 in August 2019, the average monthly rental rate has steadily declined — now down $279 from the peak, according to Rentals.ca’s and Bullpen Research & Consulting’s latest National Rent Report.

Although rents have continued to fall on a national basis, they are up regionally and by product type.

Average rental rates increased month over month in British Columbia, Ontario, Alberta and Quebec, suggesting the market might have turned a corner with increased tenant demand.

The third wave of COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc in certain areas of the country, but that has not stopped residents from trying to get into the rental market or tenants from moving for better deals and more space before rents start moving up consistently.

“Despite the continued decline in average rents on a national level, the rental market has started to turn up with rents increasing month over month in most of the largest provinces in the country,” said Ben Myers, president of Bullpen Research & Consulting. “The drop overall in Canada is likely the result of a lower share of listings in Ontario in April compared to March, which we believe is the result of units leasing faster as opposed to more vacant units in the other provinces.

“Even with the prolonged pandemic, there appears to be increased rental demand, but it will take a few months before we declare it a trend and not a statistically anomaly based on a changing composition of listings.”

Toronto finished second on the list of 35 cities and areas for average monthly rent in April for a one-bedroom home at $1,816 and for a two-bedroom at $2,407.

Month over month, average rents for a one- and two-bedroom are up slightly in Toronto, but year over year, rents are down 14.7 per cent for a one-bedroom and 10.4 per cent for a two-bedroom.

Markham came in third for average monthly rent in April for a one-bedroom home at $1,791 and 13th for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom at $1,891.

Year over year, average monthly rent for a one-bedroom in Markham is down 6 per cent and down 17 per cent for a two-bedroom.

Burlington finished fourth on the list in April for average monthly rent for a one-bedroom home at $1,725 and eighth for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom at $2,023.

Etobicoke came in fifth in April for average monthly rent for a one-bedroom home at $1,724 and sixth for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom at $2,117.

Year over year, average monthly rent for a one-bedroom in Etobicoke is down 12.5 per cent and down 14.4 per cent for a two-bedroom.

Mississauga finished sixth on the list of 35 cities for average monthly rent in April for a one-bedroom home at $1,723 and for a two-bedroom at $2,076.

Year over year, rents in Mississauga are down 10.6 per cent for a one-bedroom and 8.9 per cent for a two-bedroom.

North York came in seventh for average monthly rent in April for a one-bedroom home at $1,672 and for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom at $2,074.

Year over year, average monthly rent for a one-bedroom in North York is down 14.5 per cent and down 12.2 per cent for a two-bedroom.

Brampton finished 11th on the list for average monthly rent in April for a one-bedroom home at $1,618 and 18th for a two-bedroom at $1,818.

Month over month, Brampton average rents ticked up 2.8 per cent for a one-bedroom and 3.6 per cent for a two-bedroom. Year over year, rents in Brampton are down 2.9 per cent for a one-bedroom and 11.3 per cent for a two-bedroom.

Scarborough came in 12th for average monthly rent in April for a one-bedroom home at $1,606 and 11th for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom at $1,996.

Month over month, Scarborough average rents ticked up 2.8 per cent for a one-bedroom and 3.6 per cent for a two-bedroom. Year over year, rents in Scarborough are down 2.9 per cent for a one-bedroom and 11.3 per cent for a two-bedroom.

Richmond Hill finished 14th on the list for average monthly rent in April for a one-bedroom home at $1,594 and 10th for a two-bedroom at $1,985.

Month over month, Richmond Hill average rents are down 3.8 per cent for a one-bedroom and 10.9 per cent for a two-bedroom. Year over year, rents in Richmond Hill are down 19.5 per cent for a one-bedroom and 17.4 per cent for a two-bedroom.

Oshawa came in 18th for average monthly rent in April for a one-bedroom home at $1,471 and for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom at $1,856.

Most of the major Canadian metropolitan areas such as Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and Winnipeg, saw monthly increases in average monthly rent in April for condominium rentals and apartments.

Saskatoon, up 4.5 per cent, and Brampton, up 4 per cent, led 13 of the 18 cities and areas on the list below that had month-over-month increases in average monthly rent for condo rentals and apartments.

London, down 1.5 per cent, Mississauga, down 1.4 per cent, and Etobicoke, North York and Regina saw monthly decreases in average monthly rent for condominium rentals and apartments.

Vancouver had the highest average asking rents in Canada in April for condo rentals and apartments at $2,200 per month, followed by Toronto at $2,004 per month.

Etobicoke, down 15 per cent; Toronto, down 13 per cent; North York, down  11 per cent; and Mississauga, down 10 per cent, had the largest annual decreases in average rent in April for condo rentals and apartments. On the other end of the spectrum, London saw its average rent increase annually by 14 per cent, while Calgary and Winnipeg saw their average rent increase annually by 11 per cent.

On a provincial level, British Columbia had the highest rental rates in April, with landlords seeking $1,973 per month on average for all property types, up 3 per cent monthly.

Ontario had the second highest rental rate at $1,906 per month, while Newfoundland and Labrador had the lowest at $933 per month. Nova Scotia had the largest increase in the country, rising 3.8 per cent monthly in April with average rent rising to $1,657.

Anecdotal evidence suggests an increase of furnished apartments for rent, according to many property listing agents. COVID-19 with travel restrictions in place has affected the short-term rental market..

British Columbia, Ontario, Alberta and Quebec have the most offerings of furnished condo rentals and apartments.

In British Columbia, the average furnished apartment is listed for 28 per cent more than unfurnished apartments ($2,503 vs. $1,956 per month).

Furnished units in Ontario had an 8 per cent higher average rent, while Quebec furnished units had a 38 per cent higher rent.

The condo rental market could be turning a corner in downtown Toronto.

The chart below presents data on the monthly change in the average rent per square foot for condominium apartments for lease in downtown Toronto.

The areas experiencing the biggest increases in April 2021 over March 2021 were M6S, M5B, M5R, and M5G, at 4.3 per cent, 4.0 per cent, 3.9 per cent, and 3.9 per cent. The largest declines were experienced by M5H and M6J at 4.9 per cent and 3.9per cent, respectively.

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