Photo: James Bombales

Many of Canada’s largest housing markets feature critically low levels of rental supply amid record demand, which has been pushing rents upwards for months.

August was no exception, according to a new report from rental listings site PadMapper, which found that 13 Canadian cities saw median one-bedroom rents increase on a month-over-month basis.

Leading the charge was Toronto, with a 2.9 per cent month-over-month jump in the median one-bedroom rent to $2,140. The median two-bedroom rent held steady at $2,800 a month.

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Following close behind was Vancouver, with a $2,000 median one-bedroom rent and $3,200 median two-bedroom rent.

Worryingly, Toronto’s one-bedroom rent has jumped 15.7 per cent year-over-year, as demand pushes prices steadily higher.
Earlier this summer, GTA condo lease transactions fell 8 per cent to just 7,754 as the rental market hit what Urbanation senior VP Shaun Hildebrand called a “critically low level” of supply.

But there is some good news: The number of applications for new purpose-built rentals was 3.5 times greater in Q2 2018 than Q2 2017, with 5,920 new units proposed last quarter.

The reason for the uptick in applications? Developers are looking to capitalize on sky-high rents, says Hildebrand.
“[The rise in applications] is a direct response to the growth in rents,” Hildebrand told Livabl. “It offsets a lot of the negative impacts of rent control [on purpose-built rental construction.]”

While Hildebrand says that he believes the level of construction is still too low, he believes that last quarter’s increase signals a move in the right direction.

“If we continue along this path, we eventually will get to the point where we get to a balanced market,” he says. “Not anytime soon, but if we continue this trajectory, then yes.”

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