Vancouver rentals Photo: JP Holecka / Unpslash

Vancouver rents are the highest in the country, and prices for one-bedroom apartments increased at the fastest rate of any major market last year.

According to rental.ca’s National Rent Report, using data compiled by Bullpen Research and Consulting, Vancouver topped the list of 35 cities for average monthly rents in December for both one- and two-bedroom homes.

The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver rose 13.2 per cent to $2,176 during 2021, outpacing every other major Canadian city. The cost of a two-bedroom rental saw an annual increase of 9.7 per cent, finishing the year at $2,983.

While Vancouver led the pack in rising prices for a one-bedroom, Gatineau, Quebec saw the biggest annual increase in the two-bedroom category, rising 18 per cent.

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Overall, Vancouver has an average rent of $2,519 per month, an annual increase of 15 per cent from $2,189 per month at the end of 2020.

“The average rent per-square-foot in Vancouver steadily declined throughout 2020 before sharply recovering to the levels experienced at the start of 2019,” stated the report. “The average rent per-square-foot hit a low of $3.29 in the early part of 2021 before rising to $3.84 in December 2021.”

Toronto finished second in the National Rent Report, with one-bedrooms averaging $2,013 and two-bedrooms sitting at $2,715, representing annual increases of 9.2 per cent and 11.6 per cent, respectively. Toronto’s average rent reached $2,266, up from $2,046 at the end of 2020.

Nationwide, the average rate for all Canadian rental properties reached $1,789 per month in December, up 3.8 per cent from a year ago.

December marked the first time since April that the average rent decreased month-over-month, down 1.5 per cent from $1,818 at the end of November, although that falls in line with seasonal trends.

“Rental rates tend to fall in December as prospective tenants are concentrating on the holidays and not looking for apartments,” the report said. “It is not likely that the Omicron virus was the culprit, as average rents declined 1.8 per cent monthly in December 2020, and 3.3 per cent monthly in December 2019.”

While the Canadian rental market is gradually returning to pre-pandemic levels, the average monthly rate is still well off the peak of $1,954 in September 2019. However, forecasts are strong due to increased immigration and students returning to urban centres.

“It is too early to tell if Omicron will have a prolonged deflationary impact on the rental market, but Bullpen Research & Consulting and Rentals.ca still believe there will be significant upward growth in rents in 2022 in Canada’s major markets,” said Ben Myers, president of Bullpen Research & Consulting.

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