Here's what it costs to rent a home in cities across Canada months into the pandemic
If there's a silver lining to this pandemic, it's that average monthly rental prices are dropping across Canada, making it cheaper to rent an apartment in big cities.
A recent report from Rentals.ca indicates that the average rent for all property types in May was down by 1.4 per cent monthly and 5.4 per cent annually, according to listings on their website.
Canadians are now being asked to fork out an average of of $1,814 in rent each month — down by $50 since April 2020, and a decrease of $140 since the market peak in September 2019.
Toronto continues to claim the unenviable title of the most expensive city for rental prices, costing renters a whopping average of $2,103 per month for a one-bedroom apartment.
Vancouver comes in second, with renters asked to pay a hefty $2,022 each month for a one-bedroom apartment, followed by Richmond Hill, ON ($2,003), Etobicoke, ON ($1,984) and Markham, ON ($1,973). Apart from Vancouver, cities in Ontario claim all of the top ten slots.
Red Deer, Alta. finished at number 34, making it the most affordable city on the list; renters are only asked to pay an average of $892 each month for a one-bedroom home.
Average monthly rent also varied by property type, according to the report.
Single-family homes are the most expensive units in Canada, with landlords asking $2,566 per month on average in May 2020. In comparison, Canadians are asked to fork out less for condominium apartments ($2,234) and rental apartments ($1,468).
Condo apartments experienced the steepest decline in average rent, with rates falling by 9.4 per cent year over year. Rental apartments also fell into negative territory in May, declining by 3.5 per cent annually.
But not every area in Canada is experiencing a decline in average monthly rent; Alberta, Manitoba and British Columbia all reported a slight increase in rent prices in May over April.
In comparison, Ontario and Quebec both reported declines.
So why is the overall average monthly rent decreasing in Canada?
Well, a lot of it has to do with the pandemic, of course; with universities and colleges choosing to move classes online in September, rental housing around the institutions has fallen "significantly," according to the report.
Alternatively, tenants may have lost work and are choosing to move in with their parents or relatives to save money.
"Tenants have been more dramatically impacted by pandemic-related job loss than homeowners, and are not currently looking for apartments or other rental accommodation," said Ben Myers, president of Bullpen Research and Consulting.
"This sharp drop in demand has resulted in landlords dropping their asking rents in most major markets across the country."
Looking to the future, the report says that it's still unclear how the rental market will fare as the pandemic progresses.
If more Canadians work from home, for example, will roommates choose to split up and rent one-bedroom apartments for more privacy? What about social distancing measures? Will tenants move out of busy cities to less densely populated areas?
It's too soon to say.
One thing that's certain is that with dropping rental prices and apartment buildings adding new features like coworking spaces, the future of renting in Canada is going to look very different.
The complete list of rankings based on the average rent price of vacant one-bedroom apartments in Canada is attached in full below.
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