Canada’s national housing agency has published the results of its rental survey, and they suggest Toronto is the most expensive major market for condo tenants in the country.
The average rent for two-bedroom condos in Toronto’s census metro area was $2,029 in October, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s 2016 Rental Market Report, including survey findings.
Condo rents have soared in the tight Toronto market. Despite a condo construction boom — there were 10,039 condos under construction in the Greater Toronto Area last month, according to BuzzBuzzHome data — the CMA, which shares similar boundaries, had a vacancy rate of 1 per cent.
That’s below the national average of 1.9 per cent for the secondary rental market, which covers buildings across 17 markets that were not built specifically for rental, such as condo developments.
CMHC surveys property owners, managers and building superintendents through phone calls and site visits during the first two weeks of October to gauge rents and vacancy rates throughout the country each year.
Its latest findings peg the Vancouver CMA as the second most expensive condo rental market with rents averaging $1,822. The metro area has a drum-tight secondary-market vacancy rate 0.3 per cent, according to the survey.
Dollar-for-dollar, the most affordable condo rents are on the Quebec side of the Ottawa-Gatineau CMA, where the average rent is $1,008.
The national average rent for the secondary rental market reached $1,436 in October, according to the survey, while the country-wide vacancy rate dropped to 1.9 per cent from 2.3 per cent
CMHC’s rental report also looks at the primary rental market, spanning any building with at least three units that was constructed with the intention of renting it out. The national agency calls these private apartments and purpose-built apartments.
The average rent across 34 major markets for a two-bedroom private apartment was $995 last month, an increase of 2 per cent from a year earlier.
Over the same period, the country’s vacancy rate for these rental dwellings climbed to 3.4 per cent from 3.3 per cent — not for lack of demand, though.
“Since last year, the supply of apartment units in the primary rental market increased more than the number of occupied units, causing the vacancy rate to increase slightly,” explains Anthony Passarelli, a senior market analyst with CMHC, in a statement.
“That said, regional trends across the country were considerably different, roughly offsetting one another at the national level,” Passarelli notes.
The most expensive rental market for private apartments is not in Toronto or Vancouver, or even anywhere near either of these markets.
The Yellowknife CMA has the highest private-apartment rent at $1,554. Housing costs are typically high in the Northwest Territories, local realtors tell BuzzBuzzNews.
Vancouver trailed with an average two-bedroom apartment rent of $1,450, up 5.7 per cent from October 2015. The west coast CMA’s primary vacancy rate was among the lowest in Canada at 0.7 per cent.
A comparable apartment in the Toronto CMA would run renters $1,327, representing a year-over-year gain of 3.1 per cent. The primary vacancy rate for the Toronto CMA sits at 1.3 per cent.
The cheapest apartment rents were found in the Quebec CMAs of Trois Rivieres and Saguenay, which had vacancy rates of 6.2 and 7 per cent, respectively. Two-bedroom rents in both markets averaged $587.
Saskatoon’s primary vacancy rate of 10.3 per cent was the highest in the country and signals a regional trend. There, apartment rents in October ran tenants $1,100 on average.
“Rental housing demand was greater in most regions of Canada, with the exception of oil-producing provinces Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador,” says CMHC.