Out of the five largest cities in Canada, only Calgary saw an increase in rent prices last month, according to a report from Rentals.ca.
While the average rent in Canada for all property types was down 8.5% year-over-year in March, Calgary had an increase of 1.8%.
Toronto saw a decline of 18.7%, followed by Vancouver at -8.8%, Edmonton at -6.6%, and Montreal at -4.4%.
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Data from a report by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation shows that the average cost of rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Calgary is $1,087 per month. Two-bedrooms are the most expensive option, with an average rent of $1,323. While rent increased in Calgary in March, prices are still well below the national average.
Based on listings on Rentals.ca, the average rent for properties across Canada was $1,685 in March 2021. This comes after a drop in rent in February, and an annual decrease of $157 from March 2020, when the average was $1842 per month.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the real estate market in Canada, and the demand for rental properties has fallen dramatically, according to Rentals.ca.
“There are fewer large units and single-family homes for rent, and many more tiny condominium suites, as tenants look for larger units to work from home,” says Matt Danison, CEO of Rentals.ca.
With lowered immigration rates, less students moving closer to post-secondary institutions, an increase in home ownership due to low borrowing costs, and people rethinking their living conditions as working from home continues, Rentals.ca says that “we are in the middle of the biggest housing shake-up in our nation’s history.”
This has led to a renters market, with prices continuing on a downward trend since the onset of the pandemic.
However, research suggests that the rental market is slowly beginning to pick back up. Although annual average rent is down compared to last year, prices in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver have increased since February of this year.
Additionally, Rentals.ca says that evidence from leasing agents suggests that rental demand could be increasing in the downtown areas of Canada’s major cities. Tenants may be looking to get into units at lower prices, before rents rise as vaccine distribution expands across the country.
“Despite the drop in rent on a national level, there are signs that the rental market has bottomed out, with monthly rent increases in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal,” said Ben Myers, president of Bullpen Research & Consulting.
“With the likelihood that downtown offices will reopen within the next year, it is clear that some tenants are taking advantage of the lower rents and greater choice to secure a better location or bigger unit than they had prior to the pandemic.”
Rentals.ca’s National Rent Report charts and analyzes monthly, quarterly, and annual rates and trends in the rental market on a national, provincial, and municipal level across all listings on Rentals.ca for Canada.