Average rent in the GTA down 16.3 per cent annually: report

The average asking monthly rent in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) for all property types declined for the 15th straight month, down 16.3 per cent year over year in February to $1,986, according to the latest Bullpen Research & Consulting and TorontoRentals.com Rental Market Update & Assessment Report for the GTA.

This amount is down more than 13 per cent from February 2019.

In February, Toronto experienced an almost 20 per cent decline in average rental rates for condominium rentals and apartments compared to the previous year, down to an average of $2,000 per month.

Etobicoke saw a decline in average monthly rental rates of 15.5 per cent to $1,942 for condo rentals and apartments; North York was down 14.6 per cent to $1,927 and York average monthly rents decreased 15.8 per cent to $1,818. Scarborough average monthly rental rates were down 7.5 per cent to $1,805 in February after being up 19 per cent in February 2020 to $1,951.

The average rent was $2,525 per month and $3.78 per square foot in M5S, and $2,426 per month and $3.67 per square foot in M5V, which is the most active postal code for renting in the GTA. Rents decline farther west. Average rental rates drop off significantly north of Eglinton in Etobicoke because of a lack of newly built projects.

Average monthly rent has declined 18 per cent annually for condominium apartments down to $2,040 per month in the GTA in February. Average monthly rents in February for apartments decreased by 11 per cent to $1,918 in the GTA. Average monthly rent for single-family homes in the GTA continued to decline in February falling 8 per cent compared to February of last year to $2,576.

“The GTA market overall saw another decline in February, but the average rent for traditional apartments increased month over month, and the rent per square foot increased for downtown condos, albeit by just one cent to $3.13 per square foot,” said Ben Myers, president of Bullpen Research & Consulting. “However, this rate is still down 18 per cent annually. The spring rental market is now upon us, and that will be a test for the resiliency of the market, as this period typically experiences the strongest demand of the year. Are tenants willing to return downtown in anticipation of a re-opening of offices, or wait until it becomes a reality?”

The average rent per square foot for condo apartments in downtown Toronto didn’t decline month over month. Also, the average monthly rent for single-family homes as well as apartments increased slightly in February over January, which could  be an indication of how the market will respond moving forward.

The average rent per square foot for Downtown Toronto and the rest of the GTA have been declining in tandem since the middle of 2020. Downtown Toronto is down 18.4 per cent year over year, while the GTA declined nearly 12 per cent annually. But month over month, condo rent increased ever so slightly by $0.01, the first monthly increase since June 2020.

The bubble-like conditions in the resale housing market will force some potential buyers to continue renting, while other tenants may become more cautious, anticipating another government intervention, similar to 2017.

Rents for all bedroom types except for four-bedroom units have decreased in Q1-2021 versus Q1-2020. Average monthly rent for one-bedroom units decreased 16 per cent annually; average monthly rent for two-bedroom units and studios was down 15 per cent annually; and average monthly rent for three-bedroom units declined 9 per cent compared to last year.

The average rent for condo apartments was $3.78 per square foot in 2019, dropping to $3.50 per square foot in 2020. Over the first two months of 2021, the $3.12 per-square-foot average rent is down 17 per cent compared to 2019. The average rent per square foot has declined in 2020 and 2021 for condominium apartments of all sizes. The micro-condo units at around 300 square feet  have seen rents decline 27 per cent from their 2019 level.

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