toronto rent

The Toronto rental market is slowly recovering from COVID lows

After more than a year of falling rent prices and some record high vacancy rates, Toronto's rental market seems to be inching back toward pre-COVID levels, albeit extremely slowly.

Rent prices in the city are indeed, for the most part, very marginally back on the rise, though some housing types and locations in the GTA are still seeing average rents fall below prices for the same time period the previous year, or even the previous month.

The latest national rent report for May from and Bullpen Research & Consulting shows some interesting figures for rentals across Canada and in Toronto specifically, including the fact that there is heightened demand for larger units, and that rent prices are rising overall (up 2 per cent nationwide compared to April).

The experts predict that "with the promise of the border opening to further immigration, international students and tourism, rental rates will continue to rise."

"The fall of 2021 could be a busy season for landlords and tenants" from coast to coast, they say.

toronto rent

Chart comparing rents in major Canadian cities year-over-year from the national rent report for May 2021 from and Bullpen Research & Consulting.

Though rents in Canada's biggest city were still down last month vs. May 2020 — 12.9 per cent for one-bedroom units and 7.5 per cent for two-bedrooms — they were up slightly compared to April, by 0.9 per cent for one-bedrooms and 1.9 per cent for two-bedrooms.

The average monthly rental price for an apartment of any size and type in the Toronto CMA is now $1,992 (down from $2,266 in May 2020, even though the pandemic was in full effect then, too) or $2.81 per square foot (down from $3.01 in May 2020).

The city still takes the spot for second-most expensive rental market in the country after Vancouver, where a one-bedroom unit was around $150 more per month in May, and a two-bedroom, $300 more.

toronto rent

The top 15 most expensive Canadian cities to rent in. Chart from the national rent report for May 2021 from and Bullpen Research & Consulting.

More broadly, Ontario is the only province surveyed where rent prices for all units actually increased, on average, compared to the previous month, though rates are still far lower than May 2020.

GTA cities make up the highest rents in the province, even after the market took a huge hit due to the health crisis and resulting lockdown. and Bullpen expect a bit of a return to city centres as the population gets vaccinated, things open up further and "many employers start asking their employees to return to the office."

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