Photo: Mike Benna / Unsplash

Rental markets in Toronto and Vancouver yet again posted double-digit price declines in a report published today by Padmapper, with both cities seeing one-bedroom rents continue to fall to their lowest levels recorded since 2017.

It was the second consecutive month that one-bedroom rents in the two high-priced cities sunk to levels unseen in four years.

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In its March 2021 market report, the rental search site reported that Vancouver one-bedroom rental prices fell by 2.1 percent monthly and 13.6 percent annually to $1,900, the lowest price recorded since March 2017. Two-bedroom prices in the city fared a little better, with prices dropping by 12 percent annually and holding steady month-to-month at $2,630. Despite these significant declines, Vancouver retained its title as Canada’s most expensive city for renters.

In Toronto, the price for a one-bedroom rental dropped by 1.1 percent monthly and 21.5 percent annually to $1,750, the lowest the city has seen since February 2017. Similar to Vancouver, two-bedroom prices performed slightly better in Toronto as rents inched up by 0.4 percent month-to-month, but were down 18.1 percent compared to the same period last year. Canada’s largest city remains the second most expensive rental market in the country.

While Padmapper did not provide an in-depth analysis in its report, renter migration away from urban centres and abundant rental supply in downtown cores are typically cited as the leading drivers of the sustained rent price declines.

“Meanwhile, rents in the rest of the country seem to have stabilized as the earlier pandemic months of nationwide double-digit year-over-year declines have passed and are now only concentrated in the top 2 most expensive markets,” explained the Padmapper report.

The Padmapper report analyzes rental data from Canada’s top 24 urban areas. This month, the report noted that prices grew in nine communities, stayed flat in six, and declined in the remaining nine. Abbotsford saw the highest levels of rental price growth for one-bedroom units in the country, with prices rising by 4.8 percent monthly and 20.2 percent yearly to $1,310. In Oshawa and Kelowna, one-bedroom rentals rose by 3 percent and 2.1 percent month-to-month to $1,390 and $1,480, respectively.

Since the pandemic began, renter movement outside of large communities has been attributed to price downturns in cities and the rise of rental costs in smaller, neighbouring communities.

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