Photo: Neal Jennings/Flickr

Toronto renters haven’t had it easy.

The city is the most expensive rental market in the country, with one popular neighbourhood commanding rents in the $7-per-square-foot range, according to a report.

And the latest quarterly Rental Market Report from the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) showed the average rent for a one-bedroom condo in the final three months of 2018 was $2,143, an increase of 8.8 percent annually. Two-bedroom rents climbed an average of 5.5 percent to $2,774 last quarter.

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There was, however, an encouraging sign for renters found within the TREB report, published this week. The number of condos listed for rent in the Greater Toronto Area last quarter surged 16.6 percent, outpacing the 7-percent growth in rental transactions.

In total, 10,690 units were listed in the fourth quarter, while 6,057 were leased. An increase in supply could provide some relief for renters, but the market still has a ways to go, TREB suggests.

“While encouraging, a number of quarters within which listings growth outstrips rental transaction growth will be required to see more balance in the rental market,” the TREB report reads.

TREB President Garry Bhaura notes how strength in the GTA’s economy has been a catalyst for rental demand and, as a result, pricier accommodations.

“[The GTA] has become a primary destination for companies in various industries who are attracting younger talent who have a desire to live in the region,” he says in the report.

“This desirability has contributed to the continuation of historically-low vacancy rates, strong competition between renters for available units and, as a result, very strong growth in average rents,” Bhaura adds.

The vacancy rate in Toronto proper was a drum-tight 0.7 percent over the report period, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

However, renters searching for an apartment in the surrounding suburban regions will still face stiff competition, the CMHC data suggest.

The highest vacancy rate in the GTA was in Durham, but it was still a low 1.1 percent.

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