toronto rental market

Rent prices in Toronto just went up again and experts expect it to only get worse

If you're looking to move to or relocate within the city, unfortunately, the best time to do so was months ago, as the days of cheap(er) rent prices in Toronto spawned by the pandemic are apparently long over.

Average prices across not only the city but the GTA at large have continued to climb steadily month-over-month for 10 of the last 11 months, and according to expert projections, are only set to keep heating up through the coming season.

The latest from the Toronto GTA Rent Report from Bullpen Research & Consulting and shows that in the last year, rents have been spiking from the lows we saw in the early days of COVID-19 when people were settling into remote work and fleeing the city in droves for cheaper, larger spaces.

toronto rent

Graph of changing average rent prices in the GTA from Bullpen Research & Consulting and's February 2022 Toronto GTA Rent Report.

After steady declines for 15 months, prices have been back on the rise as immigration returns, hybrid work models with some in-office time become the trend, and the things that make the city appealing — bars, restaurants, events and more — open their doors.

Though some parts of the market aren't quite back to pre-pandemic rent highs, the average rent for all unit sizes and types across the GTA hit $2,206 in February 2022 — just one dollar more than January, but in line with a slow and steady market increase, and 11 per cent more than the same month in 2021.

And, when looking at condo and rental apartments, price-per-square-foot has actually surpassed Q4 2019 levels.

toronto rent

Graph of GTA condo and rental apartment prices per square foot over time from Bullpen Research & Consulting and's February 2022 Toronto GTA Rent Report.

All municipalities assessed in the report had higher prices this February than last, save for Ajax, where rents went down 1.1 per cent and Noth York, where rents stayed the same.

Of Ajax, the experts note that "there are few condo apartments for rent, and the vacancy rate is low for rental apartments, so the sample size of listings might not be representative of overall market conditions."

Overall, bachelors continue to have the highest rent per square foot, at $3.90 in Toronto and $3.65 in the rest of the GTA.

Of course, Toronto boasts the highest prices in the area for all unit sizes at an average of $3.46 per square foot for condos and rental apartments, or an average of $2,317, a 15.7 per cent jump year-over-year.

(Technically, Richmond Hill has a higher average rent of $2,367 — a whopping 27 per cent jump from this time last year — but a lower price when size is factored in, at $2.58 per square foot.)

toronto rent

Map comparing prices across the region from Bullpen Research & Consulting and's February 2022 Toronto GTA Rent Report.

"As would be expected, the average rent in Toronto was higher than the rest of the GTA for all bedroom types. The biggest gap was found in three-bedroom or larger units, with pricing at $3,590 per month in Toronto and $2,770 per month in the rest of the GTA," the report reads.

Also of note is the fact that one-bedroom listings, which make up the bulk of unts (44 per cent), are almost 20 per cent more expensive, on average, in Toronto proper than in the rest of the GTA — $2,040 vs. $1,706, a lot for one person to spend on housing.

"After two years of a pandemic-induced lockdown, the rental market is recovering as the province gets back to normal," the report says.

"[We] expect the recent trends to continue moving forward as the market continues to recover from the pandemic. Immigration is expected to remain high, higher interest rates could discourage buying and employers are encouraging their staff to return to the office. All of these factors should push up rents in the spring of 2022."

Lead photo by

Ahnaf Piash

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