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Condo apartment rentals in Toronto more than doubled at the end of last year

While new rules for Airbnbs were introduced in Toronto and swaths of people moved elsewhere amid lockdown and work-from-home orders, vacancy rates reached record highs and average rent prices plummeted over the course of 2020, rendering the notoriously pricey city a better place for tenants than it has been in some time.

Renting an apartment in Toronto became cheaper than in Vancouver for the first time in years, and even more affordable than in other parts of the GTA, with some landlords going as far as offering special incentives to make the deals all the more sweet.

New data from the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) from the last part of the year shows just how much of a glut the city's rental market experienced, especially of condo apartments, which some owners frantically tried to ditch as prices dropped and a forthcoming vacancy tax was confirmed.

During the latter quarter of 2020 there were a whopping 131.6 per cent more condo units listed for rent in the GTA through TRREB's MLS System than the same time in 2019 — more than double — ikely due to the fact that rent in the the region, on average, was down 16.5 per cent year-over-year.

And, a total of 12,584 condominium apartment rentals were successfully leased out, compared to just 6,756 in Q4 of the previous year.

"Demand for condominium apartment rentals reached record highs in the second half of 2020, particularly in the fourth quarter," the experts at TRREB note in their latest rental market report, released Wednesday.

"However, at the same time, growth in the number of available units far outstripped growth in rental transactions, as many investors chose to make their units available due to the impact of COVID-19 on tourism and the short-term rental market, City of Toronto restrictions on short-term rentals and the prospect of a vacancy tax."

In Toronto proper, less than half of the 27,772 apartments in general that were listed in the city during the final quarter of 2020 were successfully leased out — not the best news for landlords, but something that certainly made for easier bargaining for renters.

But, with the arrival of the vaccine and the impending influx of immigrants and international students this year, the landscape isn't expected to stay as it is for much longer.

"Rental demand will remain strong as the economic situation continues to improve," TRREB predicts, though it notes that market conditions will still favour tenants — perhaps less so, though — for most of 2021.

As other authorities have noted, making a move is sooner is better than later if you're planning on banking on the uncharacteristically low prices for renting or even buying a condo in the city.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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