Toronto rent prices just dropped again for the fourth month in a row
Rent prices continue to fall in the City of Toronto this month, even as pandemic restrictions gradually lift and life bounces back to ("a new") normal.
The freshly-released July 2020 National Rent Report from rentals.ca and Bullpen Research & Consulting puts the average monthly price of a one-bedroom apartment in Toronto at just $2,063 — down 9.3 per cent, year over year, and 1.9 per cent from the month previous.
Two-bedroom rents, meanwhile, fell 4.4 per cent over the past year but actually increased month over month by 1.3 per cent to hit an average of $2,684 in the city.
Toronto proper remains the most expensive city in Canada for renters with an average price of $2,261 across both condo apartments and purpose-built rental apartments of all sizes, followed by Etobicoke at $2,243 and York at $2,091.
The entire GTA remains more expensive, in general, than the rest of Canada, with ten Greater Toronto Area regions making rentals.ca's list of the top 12 priciest one-bedroom markets in the country.
Still, seeing any sort of decline in Toronto rent prices would have been straight-up shocking at this point in 2019 after years of consistently increasing housing costs.
Nice as it may be for renters, it's unclear how long the downward trend will last.
"There has been much discussion over the last three months regarding how the influx of units that were previously being used as short-term rentals has impacted rental rates in Toronto," writes Bullpen Research president Ben Myers in the report, referring to a recent flood of Airbnb units being transformed into long-term rental housing and upping supply levels.
"There is a significant number of apartments under construction in Toronto, which start to add even more supply to the market and potentially put more downward pressure on rental rates," the firm notes.
More supply and less demand equals lower asking prices on average, but we could also soon be dealing with a rush of "pent-up tenant demand" from people who were afraid to move during the height of the COVID-19 crisis for health and safety reasons.
"However, some pundits have predicted that tenants will choose to live outside of Toronto if the work-from-home trend continues, and fear of elevators and density heightens due to the COVID-19 virus," notes Myers.
"It is possible the fear of transit (many cities in North American are experiencing ridership declines of 50 per cent or more) might be the bigger issue, resulting in tenants looking for apartments close to work, so they can walk and avoid traffic and transit altogether."
Regardless of what happens, it's important to note that condo rental apartment rates and purpose-built apartment rentals aren't following the same trend as it stands.
Condo rents are still plummeting, bringing the overall average down, but apartment rents actually bounced back in June of 2020, rising 7.7 per cent, month over month, to reach an average of roughly 3.19 per square foot (vs. $3.65 per square foot for rented condos.)
"This type of monthly rent volatility is rarely observed," notes rentals.ca. "But keep in mind many landlords are offering incentives, with a number of new purpose-built rental apartments offering two months free rent."
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