Photo: James Bombales

Canada’s largest city capped off 2020 with another month of rent price drops following a lengthy stretch of consecutive declines.

New data published by Rentals.ca last week reported that Toronto’s monthly rent for condos and apartments recorded an annual 19.4 percent decline to an average of $2,024 in December.

Of the 35 Canadian cities that Rentals.ca analyzes, Toronto experienced some of the sharpest price drops on a year-to-year basis last month. The average price for a one-bedroom rental dipped by 20.4 percent annually to $1,832, while two-bedroom units declined by 17.5 percent annually to $2,416.

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The latest drop allowed Vancouver to claim the title as the country’s most expensive city to rent a one-bedroom unit. Vancouver’s average one-bedroom rent was $1,855 in December. This is the first time that Toronto has not topped the average rental list since Rentals.ca and Bullpen Research & Consulting began producing the National Rent Report more than two years ago, the report’s media release explains.

“In many markets, rents have dropped to the point where tenants can lease a suite with an additional bedroom for the same rent as they were paying last year,” said Matt Danison, CEO of Rentals.ca, in the market report.

Declines in rental prices have been noted in some Greater Toronto Area municipalities as well. Oakville and Mississauga reported average annual price drops of 16.2 percent and 8.8 percent, bringing rents to $2,028 and $2,009, respectively.

Weaker demand, additional rental supply and the ongoing spread of COVID-19 are expected to contribute to the continuation of declining prices over the next three to four months, the report forecasts.

Urban rental markets have struggled over the course of the past year, with recent market commentary pointing to low immigration levels, a lack of tourism and fewer international post-secondary student renters flocking to Canadian cities as some of the primary causes of weakened demand.

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