Toronto is bursting at the seams. Ranked the number one city for population growth in North America, it should come as no surprise that people are struggling to find affordable housing.
A new report by Rentals.ca confirms what Torontonians already know: this city is expensive. Toronto won top spot as the priciest city for renters and these monthly rates continue to rise.
The Rental.ca report cites preliminary results of the fourth annual Canadian Multi-Res Tenant Rental Survey by Avison Young and Informa Exhibitions which showed that currently Toronto tenants pay, on average, 42 per cent of their monthly income towards rent. That’s the highest among the most competitive markets in Canada. For residents under 30 years of age, that number jumps up to 49 per cent.
While August is usually a busy month, as young people return to university or college, there wasn’t a dramatic increase in rentals. In fact, the average rent for all property types across the country actually fell by 0.7 per cent to $1,914 per month. While it’s all well and good to examine the whole country, it often doesn’t benefit Torontonians – who seem to be in their own unique housing epidemic.
Toronto still ranked as the priciest city for renters as rates continue to rise. The report stated that the average monthly rent of a one-bedroom home in Toronto went for $2,330 in August and $2,904 for a two bedroom. That’s a jump of $249 from last year’s price which was $2,200 for a one bedroom. The Rentals.ca listings data notes that landlords are asking $2,571 for the average rental unit in Toronto.
One thing is certain: living alone is a luxury in this city. It’s much cheaper to spread your expenses and rent between one or more people within a single rental. This past July, Now Magazine did an interesting profile entitled “What’s the Cost of Breaking Up in Toronto?” which spoke of some couples “sticking it out” just to be able to afford the apartment. In fact, lodging or even buying with “forever friends” is being touted as one solution to the affordable housing crisis globally.
Of course, it’s also about location. The survey also indicated that most Toronto renters wish to live in the downtown core. CBC news reported that although some millennials are leaving Canada’s biggest cities, for every person that leaves Toronto, another seven people in the 20-34 cohort arrive, according to RBC’s Economic Research. For every millennial leaving Montreal or Vancouver, the city gains approximately 12 new residents.
Even a modest cost-of-living checklist for the average Torontonian shows how expensive it is just to survive in this city. But add in the reality of a shortage of affordable units for rent, and the result is a lot of young people who are feeling the stress.
With so many Ontario cities in the high rent category, the province is proving to be the most expensive for rental apartments with an average rent of $2.57 per square foot. Rent has increased significantly in British Columbia from late last year to $2.49 per square foot, up from $2.01 per square foot in Q4-2018.
“Despite affordability concerns, tenants continue to seek out larger apartments,” said Rentals.ca CEO Matt Danison. “The Rentals.ca data shows higher rental growth for two- and three-bedroom condo and rental apartments in Canada in 2019 versus studio and one-bedroom suites.”
Good news for the Toronto economy but bad news for renters.