Photo: Narciso Arellano / Unsplash

With the average prices of Canadian rental properties continuing to climb across the country, September rents clawed their way back to where they were in 2020.

In its October 2021 Rent Report, Rentals.ca stated that average monthly rents rose to $1,769 in September, up 0.3 per cent monthly from August and identical to September 2020.

It’s the fifth consecutive month that the national average rent has increased since April 2021’s low of $1,675, and it is also the first time this year that the national average rent hasn’t been cheaper than the previous year.

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However, the average national rent is still down 9.5 per cent — about $185 — from September 2019, when rental prices for all properties averaged $1,954.

“September marked the first time this year that the average rent in Canada wasn’t cheaper than last year, as rental rates continue their upward trend,” Ben Myers, president of Bullpen Research & Consulting, said in a release accompanying the report. “Canada’s 10 largest municipalities all experienced quarterly rent growth, showing the recovery is not regional but nationwide.”

As employment levels return to pre-pandemic norms alongside an uptick in immigration, Myers predicts that rental rates will continue to slowly climb over the next 18 months.

Photo: Med Badr Chemmaoui / Unsplash

Although prices for one- and two-bedroom rentals are down for the year, small price increases were recorded from Q2-2021 to Q3-2021. Between the two business quarters, prices for one-bedroom rentals jumped from $1,518 to $1,543 ($25), and two-bedroom values increased from $1,820 to $1,843 ($23).

“As the economy rebounds, some employees return to offices, and students are back in classrooms, demand is returning for smaller units in and near downtowns and universities,” said the report.

Larger three- and four-bedroom units continued to see comparatively higher levels of demand as prices increased by $67 (from $2,172 to $2,239) and $141 (from $2,808 to $2,949) between Q2-2021 and Q3-2021.

Vancouver continued to hang on to its first-place rank as the most expensive rental location in Canada. The price of a one-bedroom rental averaged $2,155 in September, down 0.5 per cent month-to-month, but up significantly from last year by 11 per cent. Two-bedroom rentals, which averaged $2,932 a month, similarly recorded a monthly price drop of 3.7 per cent, but were up 8.1 per cent yearly.

Photo: Alejandro Luengo / Unsplash

Out of the 35 cities analyzed in the report, Toronto rental prices ranked in second place. The price of a one-bedroom rental fell 2.6 per cent monthly and 1.5 per cent yearly to $1,938 in September. From 2020 to 2021, the value of a two-bedroom rental rose just 2.1 per cent to $2,628, but reported no change on a monthly basis.

Vaughan, Burnaby and Burlington closed out the remaining top-five priciest cities for September. One-bedroom rents in Vaughan and Burnaby jumped slightly on a monthly basis to $1,858 and $1,833, while rents in the same category dropped by 0.5 per cent in Burlington to $1,823. Two-bedroom rentals in Vaughan dipped by a mere 0.1 per cent to $2,122 from August to September, and increased by less than one per cent in Burnaby and Burlington to $2,366 and $2,209.

In September, the average rent per square foot for condo rentals and apartments in Toronto was eight per cent lower than Vancouver. During the same period in 2019, per-square-foot rents in Toronto for the same property types were 18 per cent higher than Vancouver, according to Rentals.ca.

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