municipal rental rates

Average rent in Canada down 6% since February 2020

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

The average rent for all Canadian properties listed on Rentals.ca in February was $1,714 per month, down 6 per cent from $1,823 in February of last year. For landlords, that could be a positive sign given it is the lowest annual decrease reported in the past nine months. From June 2020 through January 2021, rental rates have been down on average between 7 per cent and 9.5 per cent.

More encouraging news is that after a year of pandemic restrictions leading to average rental rates in Canada hitting bottom, rates for single-family, townhouse, and rental apartment properties all increased in February. Vancouver remains the most expensive city for renters looking for one- and two-bedroom homes on the list of 35 cities ($1,891 and $2,568 respectively) while Toronto finished second ($1,808 and $2,388).

Vancouver and Toronto are also the top two priciest cities for condominium rentals and apartments, which didn’t fair so well compared to other housing types.

“The condominium apartment market continues to weigh down the overall rental market in Canada, with huge year-over-year declines in average rental rates in BC, Quebec and Ontario, especially for tiny studio apartments,” said Ben Myers, president of Bullpen Research & Consulting. “Investors have been in a race to the bottom for several months, whereas the more institutional owners of the mostly cheaper rental apartments have been more patient in reducing rent, often using this opportunity to renovate vacated suites.”

Meanwhile, purpose-built rental apartments in Quebec and British Columbia recorded annual increases in their average monthly rental rate across the board, with three-bedroom rental apartments in British Columbia showing an annual increase of 28 per cent.

On a provincial level, British Columbia had the highest average monthly rental rate for all property types in February at $1,954. Ontario had the second highest average rental rate at $1,919 per month. Newfoundland had the lowest average monthly rental rate at $988.

The average monthly rental rates in Ontario decreased 13 per cent year over year in February for all property types. Quebec rents were also down, and average rents in Alberta and Saskatchewan were slightly down. Average monthly rents in British Columbia, Manitoba, and Newfoundland were up year over year.

All 20 of the Canadian neighbourhoods with the biggest declines in average rent levels over the last year for all property types were in the Greater Toronto Area.

Other key takeaways:

  • Pageviews on Rentals.ca are up 48 per cent in the first two months of 2021 over the final two months of 2020. Fear of COVID-19 might have prevented some would-be renters from thinking about a move. Now, many tenants are considering moving and taking advantage of the cheaper rental rates.
  • Condo apartments have experienced significant declines in 2021 with average monthly rent down 18.1 per cent in February.
  • Units listed on Rentals.ca in the $1,600 price range so far this year are double the rate of the last two years. Among the reasons for this are average rents going down for more expensive units — especially pricey condo rentals — and the bottom of the market getting more expensive, as there are fewer $800-to-$1,000-per-month rentals.
  • Condo apartments and single-family homes in Canada’s priciest cities — Toronto and Vancouver — both experienced steep declines in the average monthly rental rates year over year. Exacerbating the rental market decline in Toronto recently has been the addition of 2,254 new rental apartments completed over the final four months of 2020.
  • St. John’s had the least expensive average monthly rent in February of the 35 cities on the list for a one-bedroom home at $865, and Red Deer had the least expensive average monthly rent for a two-bedroom at $995.

See the completer report here: https://rentals.ca/national-rent-report

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