apartment for rent

Here are the latest average monthly rent prices for apartments in cities across Canada

As we wait to see the full impact of the pandemic on real estate markets across the country, it has at least become clear that there will indeed be some sort of effect, even in cities notorious for being tough on renters and buyers.

While home prices in Canada remain relatively unchanged despite a considerable drop in the volume of sales (with the exception of condos in some locales), it seemed for a while as if the health crisis would likewise have little influence on rental prices.

But, based on data from the May 2020 Rent Report by Rentals.ca and Bullpen Research & Consulting, average monthly rents are now starting to fall in cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa.

Though the average rent of all types of units nationally stayed solid at $1,842, the price of apartments specifically fell 3.2 in April compared to March, while condos fell 4.6 per cent.

And, this change was more substantial in certain cities.

apartment for rent

Courtesy of Rentals.ca

In Toronto, the average rent for a one bedroom unit declined 4 per cent from March to April, and the average rent for a two bedroom unit dropped 7.7 per cent. 

Looking at this year compared to last, numbers were still down, with one bedrooms in the city listed for 5.8 per cent less than April 2019 and two bedrooms, 3.3 per cent less.

And, looking at rental apartments and condos in particular regardless of the number of bedrooms, Toronto rents were, on average, 6 per cent lower in April than in March — something that Rentals.ca says is even more pronounced in some prime downtown neighbourhoods, where rent prices are down as much as 13 per cent month-over-month.

The decrease of average rent prices for these units was even more drastic elsewhere in the country, such as in Edmonton (down 11.3 per cent), Ottawa (8.7 per cent), Victoria (also 8.7 per cent), Calgary and Winnipeg (both down 7.6 per cent), York (down 12.6 per cent) and even Vancouver (6.8 per cent), a city known for having an overpriced market.

apartment for rent

Courtesy of Rentals.ca

But, there were some places where year-over-year rents (not month-over-month) did increase — and quite dramatically so — such as in Montreal (up 35 per cent), Hamilton (30 per cent) and London (23 per cent).

Toronto and Vancouver were among the nine municipalities that had an annual drop in average rents, of 5 per cent and 9 per cent, respectively. (Meanwhile, Saskatoon had a bonkers year-over-year price decrease of 35 per cent).

Toronto maintained its spot at the top of the list of average rent prices in cities nationwide for both one bedroom ($2,125) and two bedroom ($2,669) units in April, with the Vancouver area not far behind, with the sixth- and seventh-highest average price for a one bedroom (for Vancouver and North Vancouver) and the second and third-highest average price for a two bedroom.

Also, Ontario cities had eight of the top 10 highest rents, with Richmond Hill, North York, Vaughan and Mississauga following Toronto.

apartment for rent

Courtesy of Rentals.ca

Experts had speculated that both home prices and rental costs could plummet by as much as 30 and 20 per cent, respectively, due to the pandemic and consequent economic fallout, but it doesn't look like Canada's biggest cities have reached that point — or ever will.

With fewer people relocating at the moment, this may be as good a time as ever to cop a cheaper-than-average rent, if you can.

As Rentals.ca's CEO says in a release about the new findings:"With the gradual opening of the economy, this may be the low point for rental rates in some time if tenants feel comfortable enough to move."

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