The median monthly rent across Canada increased nearly 6 per cent in January over December to $1,747, according to the February National Rent Report created by Rentals.ca and Bullpen Research & Consulting. The National Rent Report charts and analyzes national, provincial and municipal monthly rental rates and market trends across all listings on Rentals.ca for Canada.
As per the report’s findings, the median rent in Ontario was $2,091 in January, a full $1,000 per month higher than neighbouring Manitoba ($1,070) and Quebec ($1,039). Newfoundland remains the least expensive province in Canada, with a median rental rate of $843 per month, a slight increase from $830 in December.
Other takeaways from the February rent report include:
- Toronto had the highest one-bedroom rents in Canada at $2,149 per month on average in January, an increase of 0.6% from a month earlier. A number of GTA suburban markets were among the most expensive cities for rents in Canada, with one-bedroom units going for $2,050 per month on average in Thornhill, $2,042 in Vaughan (includes Woodbridge and Concord), and $1,999 in Oakville. There have been about 10,000 apartments completed over the last five months in the GTA, and this increase in supply could keep rents stable.
- The vacancy rate in Winnipeg has been 3% or lower for 20 years, and rental rates have increased by 2% or more for 19 consecutive years (per Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation data). Developers have taken notice, building about 1,400 rental apartments in each of the last three years, the highest levels of annual rental apartment construction over the past 30 years. Despite the consistent rental increases, rates are still very affordable in relation to other Canadian cities.
- Rental rates have been increasing over the past four months in the combined area of Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, Leduc, Spruce Grove and St. Albert from $1,207 per month to $1,255 per month.
- On a provincial level, Ontario had the highest average rental rates in January, with landlords seeking $2,164 per month on average, an increase of 2% from December ($2,123).
- In British Columbia, the average asking rent was $1,583 per month, an increase of 4% from December ($1,520).
- Alberta was also up month over month by 2%, rising from $1,257 in December to $1,285 in January.
“The resale housing markets in several major cities in western Canada have slumped over the last six months, however, rental rates continue to increase in many of those municipalities,” said Ben Myers, president of Bullpen Research & Consulting. “Edmonton, Red Deer, Saskatoon, Regina, and Vancouver all experienced month-over-month increases in average rents for one bedroom units in January.”
“With rising rents across the country, it is important when searching for a rental home to give yourself plenty of time to score a good deal — Rentals.ca recommends starting your rental search three months in advance,” said Matt Danison, CEO of Rentals.ca. “A lot of people begin the process too late, and unless they get lucky they might be forced to go with something either out of their budget or in an undesirable location.”
The report suggests rent across Canada could increase further if credit availability remains tight, other economic data such as employment growth remain positive, and the stress test continues to delay first-time buyers from entering the real estate market.