toronto rent real estate

Toronto rents are climbing and many are considering moving out of the city

For many, owning property in Toronto is simply out of the question, and rental buildings have been popping up in greater numbers to satiate demand. Competition is still fierce even on the rental market, and average rent prices have been climbing in the city as the economy bounces back from a lockdown-induced recession.

According to Rentals.ca's and Bullpen Research & Consulting's latest National Rent Report, it's part of a country-wide trend that saw average rents continue their crawl upward in the third quarter of 2021.

A slight 0.3 per cent increase over August's average rent marks the fifth consecutive month of the national average rent rising since hitting an April low of $1,675.

By September, this number had slowly risen to $1,769, though this is still 9.5 per cent — translating to $185 — below the $1,954 average in September of 2019, a few months before the world as we knew it came crashing down.

"September marked the first time this year that the average rent in Canada wasn't cheaper than last year, as rental rates continue their upward trend. Canada's ten largest municipalities all experienced quarterly rent growth, showing the recovery is not regional but nationwide," said Ben Myers, president of Bullpen Research & Consulting.

But what about here in Toronto, where getting your hands on a rental unit has become almost as much of a production as buying a home?

There's been a pronounced jump in Toronto compared to the national average. Q3 2021 rents in the city jumped 6.7 per cent over Q2 rent prices to an average of $2,181.

While this is a decent short-term leap, it's still 2.3 percent below the average prices recorded in a very different-looking third quarter of 2020, which is probably a good thing.

As of September, it's on average $390 cheaper to rent an apartment in Toronto than it was before the pandemic.

September rental averages in the city reached $1,938 for one-bedroom units and $2,628 for a two-bedroom. While rental rates are recovering on the whole, year-over-year rent declines have been recorded for studios (down 3.2 per cent), one-bedrooms (2.9 per cent) and two-bedroom units (1 per cent).

So even with a pandemic setting back rent prices, the outlook for future affordability in Toronto is still looking grim as ever.

The report from Rentals.ca and Bullpen Research & Consulting states that "many residents of Toronto have considered moving out of the city because of the high rents."

You can get a comparative bargain on rental in cities like Windsor, where units around 500 square feet average about $500 cheaper than Toronto.

And these savings seem to scale up with unit sizes: 800-square-foot range units around $900 more affordable, and rentals in the 1,000 square-foot range going for about $1,300 cheaper than Toronto.

Quite the price difference, but it doesn't quite take into account the cultural, economic, and dining opportunities that Windsor will never match us in.

Toronto may have one of Canada's most expensive rental markets, but it could always be worse.

Two years ago, per-square-foot rents for Toronto condos and apartments had a whopping 18 per cent edge over Vancouver. Now, these same units are 8 per cent cheaper to rent than in Vancouver.

Lead photo by

Jack Landau


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