rents are rising

Top rental trends of 2016

Insights from Kijiji's head of real estate, Al Maitland
Friday, January 27, 2017
by Erin Ruddy

With over 395,000 live listings currently in its real estate channel—of which, over 83,000 listings are apartments and condos for rent—Kijiji’s rental listing data provides a great window into Canadian rental trends.

For a look back at the year that was 2016, and for predictions on the year ahead, we spoke with Al Maitland, Kijiji’s Head of Real Estate. Here is what his data tells us:

Top rental trends in 2016

“We’ve seen significant changes in supply in differing ways across the country. Supply in Ontario and Quebec declined significantly in 2016,” observes Maitland. “Conversely, in the prairies, supply increased sharply early last year but tapered off in late 2016, and the market has begun to stabilize. The B.C. market transformed from a growing supply of apartments early in the year, to a negative supply towards the end, possibly due to foreign ownership rule changes leading to previous investment properties being sold to occupants instead of continued rental arrangements.”

Maitland notes that although “time to rent” remained fairly flat in most markets last year, including Ontario, Quebec and the prairies, it fluctuated significantly in B.C.—again, likely as an impact of the new foreign ownership rules.

“Prices were up, down or the same,” he says, “depending on where you were in Canada in 2016. The prairies saw prices fall between 5 and 10 per cent. Prices were fairly flat in Ontario and Quebec, staying within three per cent. And in B.C., prices rose in 2016, reflecting the lack of supply and landlords trying to pass new ownership rule price impacts along to tenants.”

Expectations for 2017

Looking ahead, Maitland predicts that the decline in supply of rental apartments in Ontario and Quebec shows no sign of changing in 2017. “We expect those markets to remain highly competitive. In the prairies, however, as the market adjusts to new oil prices, we expect rental supply to flatten out over the course of the year. And B.C.’s supply should continue to contract as additional costs of ownership are felt.”

Maitland adds that “time to rent” should continue to be consistent in Ontario, Quebec and the prairies. “The volatility we saw in B.C. last year will likely settle down in mid-2017 as landlords adjust to the “new normal” of ownership rules and can evaluate their new tax costs in Q1.”

On price, his expectation is that it will remain consistent with what we saw in 2016 in most of Canada. “Prices should begin flattening in B.C. as the market settles there, but it may take until mid-year.”

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