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Renters looking for an affordable alternative to Toronto and Vancouver have long looked to this city for relief — but they may soon have to look elsewhere.

According to rental website PadMapper, Montreal now has the fastest rising rent in Canada. In January the average rent for a one-bedroom jumped a whopping 15.9 per cent year-over-year to $1,310.

The increase in price makes Montreal the city with the fourth most expensive rent in Canada, though it still falls well below the top three cities on the list. In first place is Toronto with an average one-bedroom rent of $2,020, followed by Vancouver with $2,000 and Burnaby with $1,430.

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It’s the latest indicator that 2018 will be a red hot year for the Montreal real estate market. According to the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board, 2017 had the second highest number of transactions ever recorded in the city.

Every property type saw a bump in sales, making for a total of 44,448 sales, the highest number since 2007.

“The strength of the market is built on incredibly strong fundamentals,” Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards market analysis department manager Paul Cardinal told BuzzBuzzNews.

An astonishing 105,000 jobs have been created in the area in the last two years, sending the unemployment rate plunging downwards. Combined with increased migration and consumer confidence at a 15-year high, demand in the area continues to grow at a rapid pace.

The Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards predicts a sales increase of 5 per cent for the city in 2018. As sale rise, so will prices — QFREB is predicting that the average price of a home will spike 5 per cent to $332,000 for a single-family home in 2018, while the price of a condo could jump 3 per cent to $255,000.

“In terms of prices, growth will be stronger in Montreal [than in the rest of the province],” reads a statement from the QFREB. “It is a seller’s market for single-family homes, while the conditions are more balanced for condominiums.”

As higher demand creates tighter levels of supply, it seems likely the rent prices will continue to increase in coming months.

“It is also important to point out that the vast majority of immigrants to Quebec choose to settle in the Montreal area, which creates new housing needs, a phenomenon that should continue this year,” writes the QFREB.

PadMapper analyzes rent data from active listings across the country, which are then aggregated on a monthly basis to calculate the median asking rents for the top 26 biggest metro areas in Canada.

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