Average rents in Canada up 2nd consecutive month

Tenant demand, rents expected to increase as country reopens - average rents for single family homes up 15% since beginning of the year

The average rent in Canada increased for the second month in a row, rising to $1,721 per month after six straight months of decline.

The average asking rent for all Canadian properties listed on Rentals.ca in June grew by 0.7 per cent after rising 2 per cent month over month in May, according to Rentals.ca’s and Bullpen Research & Consulting’s latest National Rent Report.

Year over year, average monthly rents in Canada were down 2.7 per cent, but a big change from May when it was down 5.7 per cent annually, and April when average rents were down 9 per cent.

According to the report, as the country begins to open, tenant demand is expected to pick up, and further growth will continue for the rest of 2021. Expect even larger rent increases in 2022, when most COVID restrictions are lifted, offices are open, immigration is back to pre-pandemic levels and most classrooms are in session.

On a national basis, large units continue to outpace small units in terms of rent growth as many tenants anticipate working from home longer, while others expect the move to remote work is permanent.

The single-family rental market remains strong, and apartment rents are now above pre-pandemic levels. The average rent for condos has started to turn up, but remains below peak levels as the high-end downtown markets have yet to fully recover.

Single-family homes have experienced the sharpest increase in average monthly rent since the start of 2021, from $2,214 per month to $2,553 per month, up 15 per cent. On an annual basis, the average rent in June for single-family homes is up 5.5 per cent over June 2020.

The average monthly rental rate for condo and rental apartments have also experienced increases since the start of 2021, but to a lesser extent than single-family homes.

Condo apartments moved from $1,983 per month in January up to $2,032 per month in June (plus 2.5 per cent), but are still down 8.3 per cent year over year.

On an annual basis, average monthly rent for apartments is up 3.1 per cent over June of 2020.

Vancouver continues to lead the list of 35 cities for highest average monthly rent for a one-bedroom home at $2,056 and for a two-bedroom at $2,765. Year over year, average monthly rent for a one-bedroom in Vancouver is up 3.5 per cent and 4.6 per cent for a two-bedroom.

The average property listed for rent on Rentals.ca in June in the Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) was offered at $2,152, an annual decrease of 2.8 per cent, but $11 a month more than May.

Toronto finished second on the list for average monthly rent in June for a one-bedroom home at $1,836 and for a two-bedroom at $2,502. Year over year, average monthly rent for a one-bedroom in Toronto is down 11 per cent and 7 per cent for a two-bedroom.

In the Toronto CMA, the average rent for all property types declined from $2,230 in June 2020 to $2,013 this June, an annual decline of 9.7 per cent. However, the average unit is $21 more expensive than a month earlier.

Montreal came in 22nd for average monthly rent for a one-bedroom home in June at $1,432 and 16th for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom at $1,880. Month over month, average rent for a one-bedroom in Montreal decreased 2.2 per cent in June from May and 3.4 per cent for a two-bedroom.

In the Montreal CMA, the average rent declined 2.6 per cent annually from $1,670 per month in June of last year to $1,627 per month in June of this year.

Halifax experienced the largest month-over-month increase in average rent in June, up 6.7 per cent to $1,731. Many former Nova Scotians have moved back to Halifax with the intention of keeping their out-of-province job.

Gatineau was second with monthly rent up 3.8 per cent.

Ontario cities and areas with month-over-month rent increases include: Oakville, 4.2 percent; Markham, 3.8 per cent; Burlington, 3.3 per cent; Windsor, 2.9 per cent; Vaughan, 2.8 per cent;  Richmond Hill, 1.5 per cent; Toronto, 1.5 per cent; Brampton, 1.4 per cent; Kitchener, 1.3 per cent; Ottawa, 0.4 per cent and London, 0.2 per cent.

Hamilton average rents were down 2.7 per cent monthly, and Mississauga rents were down 0.5 per cent.

British Columbia cities with month-over-month rent increases were Victoria at 2.9 per cent; Vancouver at 2 per cent and Burnaby at 0.2 per cent.

In Alberta, Red Deer (3 per cent); Calgary (2 per cent) and Edmonton (1.4 per cent) had monthly average rent increases.

Average monthly rents were also up in Regina by 2.1 per cent and in Saskatoon by 1.1 per cent. Winnipeg’s average monthly rents were up 0.2 per cent.

Month over month, average rent for condominium rentals and apartments increased in June in 10 Toronto neighbourhoods, and decreased in 10 neighbourhoods. The Yonge-St. Clair neighbourhood had the largest increase in average rent in June of 7 per cent over May.

Eleven of the 20 neighbourhoods have seen average rent increases for condominium rentals and apartments from a low point of the market in February to June. The highest rent growth in June vs. February was around 8 per cent in Yonge-St. Clair, The Annex, The Waterfront Communities, and Wallace Emerson.

“After unprecedented declines during the pandemic, the domestic rental market is in recovery mode with many of Canada’s largest cities seeing rent growth accelerate in June,” said Ben Myers, president of Bullpen Research & Consulting. “Unit showings are picking up, vacancies are declining and tenant demand is strong again in major downtown markets. However, it still could take eight to 15 months before most markets get back to their peak rent levels from late 2019.”

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