Toronto is one of the world's cheapest financial hubs to rent an apartment

Mar 20 2017, 6:11 pm

“Expensive rent” ranks somewhere between “Drake’s hometown” and “Canada’s capital city” when it comes to facts about Toronto.

Which is to say, it’s both true and not true at all.

Yes, renting an apartment in Toronto is a financial burden, which we’re reminded of by an abundance of studies, rankings, and doomsday headlines as frequent as weather forecasts. But there’s little use in telling us that Berlin is more affordable than Toronto because the two cities have essentially nothing in common.

A recent study by US-based apartment-seeker website RentCafe took a more categorical approach to the topic by comparing the price of rent in the world’s top financial hubs.

Compared to 29 other finance heavyweights, Toronto is actually the 5th cheapest city to rent a one-bedroom apartment ($1,600 CDN per month). This is despite being the world’s 13th most powerful financial hub.

Montreal, the world’s 15th most lucrative money market, ranked second-most affordable ($1135 CDN for a one-bedroom). Vancouver, meanwhile, was ranked the 7th cheapest city to rent a one-bedroom ($1870 CDN) as the 20th most important financial centre in the world.

Source: RentCafe

Those are decent positions for all three of Canada’s biggest hubs for finance, though Toronto’s situation shows little long-term promise.

According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, the average rent price went up 7.4 per cent last year, and there is no indication that that trend will curb anytime soon. The city also lacks new rental housing construction, and you can forget about labelling the buyers’ market as anything near affordable.

Without considering average income, it’s also difficult to draw any real conclusions from this study. Sure, New York City, Singapore, and London (the world’s most powerful financial hubs) are more expensive than Toronto, but that doesn’t necessarily make them less affordable, as incomes in those cities are considerably higher. A historically low one per cent vacancy rate is also problematic.

Let’s file this news under “something to consider.”

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