Rents drop 3% in Canada
Brampton average monthly rents increase, while most of the rest of the country flat or down
Toronto leads all cities with most expensive rents; Mississauga seventh priciest for renters
Landlords and property managers will look to embrace virtual leasing during the Covid-19 pandemic
The average monthly rent in February was $1,823 in Canada as measured by listings data on Rentals.ca.
Average monthly rent was down or flat for one-bedroom and two-bedroom homes in most cities, but a few municipalities bucked the trend including Brampton, Kingston, Burnaby and Quebec City.
Brampton average monthly rent for a one-bedroom home was up 8.8 per cent February over January and a two-bedroom was up 11.9 per cent.
Toronto led all 38 cities on the list for average monthly rent in February for a one-bedroom home at $2,240 and a two-bedroom at $2,910.
Seven other municipalities in the Greater Toronto Area are listed among the 38 cities with six of the seven in the top 11 as most expensive for renters.
Oshawa on the eastern end of the GTA finished 26th on the list for average monthly rent for a one-bedroom home at $1,167 and 18th for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom at $1,789.
Brampton finished 10th for average monthly rent for a one-bedroom at $1,647 and 15th for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom at $1,944.
Mississauga finished seventh for average monthly rent for a one-bedroom at $1,903 and for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom at $2,291.
North York finished fourth for average monthly rent for a one-bedroom at $1,993 and fifth for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom at $2,425.
Richmond Hill came in fifth for average monthly rent for a one-bedroom at $1,927 and sixth for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom at $2,311.
Burlington came in eighth for average monthly rent for a one-bedroom at $1,707 and 10th for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom at $2,107.
Scarborough came in 11th for average monthly rent for a one-bedroom at $1,630 and 13th for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom at $2,037.
Average rent per square foot in certain areas of Toronto in February shows the highest in Yorkville and and Annex at $5.11 per square foot, two of the city’s most exclusive areas. Year over year, the largest increase in average rent per square foot was 4.6 per cent to $4.07 per square foot in South Core and Central Harbourfront.
In the chart below showing asking rents for only rental apartments in select Canadian cities for February, Mississauga is up 12 per cent year over year, and Toronto is up 16 per cent. Other GTA cities include Etobicoke up 18 per cent; North York up 15 per cent and Scarborough up 14 per cent.
The change in the average rental rate from February of last year to February of this year for all properties types has varied dramatically in Canada’s major markets.
Rents are up by 4 per cent annually in Toronto to $2,524 per month (former city, pre-amalgamation) for all property types; rents are up 15 per cent in Vancouver to $2,334 per month; while rents in Montreal are up 31 per cent annually to $1,708 per month. (Despite the fairly large sample sizes in each of these major markets, there are some compositional changes in the data that can over-exaggerate the growth rate.)
On the flip side, Ottawa rents declined by 5 per cent annually, Edmonton rents were down 6 per cent, and Saskatoon rents were down a whopping 16 per cent to $1,015 per month.
Other takeaways from the March National Rent Report include:
- On a provincial level, Ontario had the highest rental rates in February, with landlords seeking $2,212 per month on average for all property types. British Columbia had the second highest rental rate at $1,885 per month, while Newfoundland and Labrador had the lowest at $927.
With the exception of Quebec, all provinces experienced a month-over-month decline in average rents between January and February.
- Condominium apartments are listed for rent at a 30 per cent to 35 per cent premium over the average rental apartment in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario, while the premium is closer to 45 per cent in Quebec.
- Average unit size decreased in all bedroom types between February 2019 and February 2020, most notably in three-bedroom units, which dropped in average size from 1,271 square feet to 1,210 square feet.
- Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, had the lowest average monthly rent at $825 for a one-bedroom and $923 for a two-bedroom.
Many tenants are likely choosing to stay in their residence until health concerns are reduced and economic uncertainty dissipates.
Also, immigration will temporarily grind to a halt while the borders are closed. And, some young adults living at home or planning a move for a job or school are stuck, not knowing when school will resume and when, or if, their employment will start.
But some people could have already taken another job and/or given notice to their landlord, and they will need to find a place to live. Potential home buyers might also put off purchasing a home and continue to stay in the rental market to upgrade, boosting rental demand.
Rentals.ca will continue to closely monitor lease rates, listings activity, and trends during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We are going to see a drop-off of walk-in showings for apartments across Canada during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Matt Danison, CEO of Rentals.ca. “Landlords and property managers will need to embrace virtual leasing as much as possible to keep their staff and potential renters safe during this difficult time. Rentals.ca has committed to help by significantly lowering the cost of 3-D and virtual tours until July 1 to help with social distancing.”
Examples of two virtual tours:
“Following two years of high rent growth in Canada outside of the commodity-driven markets, rental rates have softened considerably in 2020,” said Ben Myers, president of Bullpen Research & Consulting. “In the face of a global health crisis, the number of people making major life decisions like moving or changing jobs will be significantly reduced, and landlords will have to decide to either lower rents, offer incentives, or simply wait and hope for some return to normalcy in a couple of months.”
The National Rent Report charts and analyzes monthly, quarterly and annual rates and trends in the rental market on a national, provincial, and municipal level across all listings on Rentals.ca for Canada.
The Rentals.ca numbers show vacated properties that better reflect current values. The figures better represent the actual rents a potential tenant would encounter when seeking to rent an apartment.