Rent Growth Reaccelerates in March

After a brief moderation during the winter, rents reaccelerated as the Canadian rental market entered the spring. Asking rents for all available property listings increased 1.0% monthly and 10.8% annually to reach an average of $2,004 in March.  Rents increased month-over-month for the first time since November, pushing the annual percentage rate of rent increase back into the double digits. Over the past year, average asking rents have grown by $196, clearly illustrating how rental housing demand is strongly outstripping supply in Canada.

1. National Overview


Two-Bedroom Rents Rising Fastest

Asking rents for purpose-built and condominium apartments increased 1.5% month-over-month and 10.9% year-over-year to an average of $1,937 in March. For the second straight month, two-bedroom rents increased the fastest on an annual basis, up 10.7% to an average of $2,127. One-bedroom asking rents also recorded double-digit annual rent growth, rising 10.1% to an average of $1,749. Asking rents for three-bedroom units were up 6.8% year-over-year to an average of $2,402, while studio rents increased 4.9% from a year ago to an average of $1,395.

2. Provincial Overview

Double-Digit Rent Growth in Almost All Provinces

Rent inflation was strongest over the past year in Nova Scotia, where average asking rents for purpose-built and condominium apartments increased 20.8% to $2,167. Annual rent growth was second fastest in Ontario at 17.1%, reaching an average of $2,401 for purpose-built and condominium apartments. Alberta and British Columbia recorded nearly identical annual rent increases of 13.4% and 13.2%, respectively, although averaging widely different rents of $1,461 (AB) and $2,541 (BC). Annual rent growth moved into the double-digits in Quebec (+12.2%) and Manitoba (+12.6%) during March to reach averages of $1,839 and $1,463, respectively.


3. Municipal Rental Rates

Calgary Continues Leading Rent Growth Among Canada’s Largest Markets

For the second consecutive month, asking rents increased fastest in Calgary among Canada’s largest markets for purpose-built and condominium apartments, up 24.9% annually to $1,890. Toronto maintained its second place standing with annual rent growth of 22.4%, reaching an average of $2,818. 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.


Immigration Hots Spots in Scarborough and Brampton See Rents Surge

Among Canada’s mid-sized rental markets, average asking rents for purpose-built and condominium apartments in BC were highest in Burnaby ($2,866), Coquitlam ($2,813), and Richmond ($2,636). In Ontario, average asking rents for mid-sized markets were highest in Oakville ($2,648), Etobicoke ($2,587) and Mississauga ($2,549). Outside of the Greater Toronto Area, average asking rents were highest in Barrie ($2,362), Cambridge ($2,253), Guelph ($2,196) and Kitchener ($2,195). 

The fastest growing markets for rent growth tend to attract relatively high levels of immigration, led by Scarborough (+34.9%) and Brampton (+29.1%) to reach averages of $2,527 and $2,518, respectively, for purpose-built and condominium apartments. London represented the third-fastest appreciating mid-sized rental market, where asking rents rose 24.6% annually to an average of $1,978. North York in the greater Toronto Area and Coquitlam in Metro Vancouver rounded out the top five for rent growth in Canada’s mid-sized market with annual increases of 24.1% and 23.8%, respectively.


Single Room Rentals Coming into Focus

As rental costs have soared in Canada over the past year, private room and shared accommodation rentals have gained popularity. The average asking rent for single room rentals in Canada was $834 in March, with the highest rents averaging $1,053 in BC and $934 in Ontario. In Vancouver and Toronto, single room asking rents averaged $1,410 and $1,309, respectively.