Photo: Coldwell Banker Peter Benninger Realty

The plights of renters and apartment hunters in Vancouver and Toronto are well documented, but another Canadian city is actually seeing rents rise faster annually than both those urban centres are, suggests PadMapper.

According to the apartment search site’s 2017 May Rent Report — Canada, rents for one-bedroom apartments in Kitchener, Ontario, this month surged 15.5 per cent on a year-over-year basis, the greatest annual increase recorded in any of the 25 Canadian rental markets PadMapper tracks each month.

For two-bedroom Kitchener apartments, rents soared 15.1 per cent matching gains in Victoria, BC.

Increased demand from “renters being priced out of [the] expensive GTA” is most likely pushing rents higher in Kitchener, says Crystal Chen, a spokesperson from Zumper, which acquired PadMapper early last year, in an emailed statement. “A similar trend is happening in Barrie as well,” Chen adds.

With the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Kitchener sitting at $970 and a two-bedroom median rent of $1,220, clearly the market remains far less expensive than Canada’s priciest cities this month.


Chart: PadMapper

Vancouver’s median one-bedroom rent of $1,940, up 1.6 per cent from last year, was the highest in the country in May.

Ditto for the west coast city’s median two-bedroom rent, an eye-popping $3,240 despite falling 5.3 per cent from a year earlier.

Toronto took second spot in both categories. The median one-bedroom rent there was $1,750, up 15.1 per cent year-over-year, and for two-bedroom apartments it was $2,250, a change of 14.8 per cent from May 2016.

“Because the GTA does not seem like rental prices will taper off significantly in the near future, the cities outside of the GTA, like Kitchener and Barrie, will only continue to see increased demand for rental units,” Chen, the Zumper spokesperson, explains in the statement.

“And until new apartment supplies are built to meet these increased demands, rent prices will only continue to grow,” Chen adds.

Frustrated Ontario renters could also look next door for more-affordable rents. Dollar for dollar, the Quebec city of Saguenay, roughly 200 kilometres north from Quebec City, had the cheapest rents.

The median one-bedroom rent was just $560, while two-bedroom units only went for $690 per month.

Those represent year-over-year increases of 1.8 per cent and 7.8 per cent, respectively.

Meantime, Saskatoon landlords were hit with the sharpest annual drop in rents this May.

One-bedroom rents in Saskatoon fell 11.6 per cent year-over-year to a $840 median this month. For two-bedroom rents, the median was $980, a decline of 12.5 per cent over the same period.

In April, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation said there was “strong evidence of problematic conditions” in Saskatoon’s housing market.

The national housing agency’s negative evaluation stems from signs of overbuilding and a sky-high rental vacancy rate of 10.3 per cent in the fallout from the slumping price of oil, a main driver for Saskatchewan’s economy.

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