Average rent in March sees first monthly increase since November: report

By Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press | April 13, 2023 | Last updated on April 13, 2023
2 min read
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A new report says average rents across Canada were up 1% between February and March — the first month-over-month increase since November.

The report by Rentals.ca and Urbanation released Thursday concluded the rental market reaccelerated in the spring after a brief moderation during the winter, bringing the average rent to $2,004 in March, a gain of 10.8% compared with a year earlier.

“Spring arrived with a highly competitive rental market in Canada, driven by a record population increase of over one million people in the past year and low home ownership affordability after last year’s spike in interest rates,” said Shaun Hildebrand, president of Urbanation, a real estate research firm.

“With supply unable to keep up with current levels of demand, expect further upward pressure on rents in the coming months.”

Rentals.ca, a listing site, and Urbanation believe rental housing demand is strongly outstripping supply because average asking rents increased by $196 over the last year.

Asking rents for purpose-built and condominium apartments increased 1.5% from February and 10.9% from the previous March, reaching an average of $1,937, they added.

Rent was steepest in Vancouver, where a one-bedroom home hit $2,743, up 3.9% from February and 17.3% from a year earlier. Two-bedroom properties reached an average $3,653, up less than 1% from February and 21.5% from March 2022.

Toronto trailed Vancouver with one-bedroom homes averaging $2,506, a less than 1% increase from February but a 22.2% increase from March 2022. The average two-bedroom home hit $3,286, down 0.8% from February and up 19.7% from a year prior.

At the other end of the spectrum, Lloydminster, Alta., had the lowest rent prices of the 35 cities Rentals.ca and Urbanation studied. A one-bedroom home was $820, up 0.7% from February and 10.3% from March 2022. Two-bedroom properties in the Alberta city were rented for an average $925, a 0.3% decline from the month before, but an 8.4% increase from March 2022.

However, when Rentals.ca and Urbanation looked at rental price growth, they found Calgary saw the fastest increases among Canada’s largest markets for purpose-built and condo apartments.

Rent for purpose-built and condo apartments in Calgary was up 24.9% annually to $1,890.

Toronto maintained its second place ranking with annual rent growth of 22.4% in the category. Vancouver, the most expensive of Canada’s largest markets, recorded annual rent growth of 18.7% in March, pushing average asking rents up to $3,146.

All of Canada’s six largest rental markets saw rents rise by more than 10% over the past year.

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Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press

Tara Deschamps is a reporter with The Canadian Press, a national news agency headquartered in Toronto and founded in 1917.