November 2023 Rentals.ca Report
The annual rate of rent growth in Canada was 9.9% in October, moderating slightly from the 11.1% annual pace in September but representing the second fastest annual increase of the past seven months. Average asking rents increased 1.4% month-over-month in October, somewhat slower than monthly gains of 1.5% in September and 1.8% in August, due to seasonal factors.
Rents Increased $175 in Past 6 Months
For the sixth month in a row, asking rents in Canada hit a new high, averaging $2,178 in October. In the last six months, average asking rents increased by 8.8%, or by $175 per month.
Two Bedroom Apartment Rents Surpass $2,300
Asking rents for purpose-built and condominium apartments increased 1.7% month-over-month and 11.7% year-over-year to reach another record high of $2,112 in October. One-bedroom apartments averaged $1,938 in October and continued to see the fastest annual growth in asking rents of 14.1%. Two-bedroom apartment rents surpassed $2,300 for the first time in October ($2,311), increasing 11.8% annually. At an average of $1,538, asking rents for studio apartments increased 12.0% from a year ago, while three-bedroom apartment rents rose 8.9% annually to an average of $2,532.
Rent Increases Driven by Alberta, Quebec and Nova Scotia
Rent inflation in Canada has become increasingly more concentrated within Alberta, Quebec, and Nova Scotia. These provinces have experienced a combination of strong population growth and large infusions of new rental supply priced at above-average market rents.
The average asking rent for purpose-built and condominium apartments in Alberta reached $1,686 in October, increasing 16.4% year-over-year, which was a faster annual rate of increase compared to September (15.3%). In Nova Scotia, average asking rents for apartments increased 13.6% from a year ago to $2,097, with annual growth following close behind in Quebec at 13.3%, where average asking rents reached $1,977.
B.C. maintained the highest average asking rents for apartments by province at $2,639 in October. However, B.C. rents decreased 0.6% month-over-month, the second consecutive monthly decline, which lowered its annual rate of growth to 9.8% in October from 12.3% in September.
Ontario was the province with the slowest annual growth in apartment rents during October, posting a 4.6% increase (compared to a 6.6% increase reported for September). After decreasing by 0.4% between August and September, average asking rents in Ontario edged up 0.2% in October to reach $2,492.
The Prairie provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan had the largest month-over-month rent increases of 5.5% and 4.0%, respectively. In Manitoba, average asking rents for apartments reached $1,510, rising 7.6% annually in October, compared to 3.1% annual growth in September. Saskatchewan apartment rents rose 5.8% annually in October to an average of $1,409, accelerating from a 3.8% year-over-year rate of increase in September.
Toronto Rents Decrease Compared to a Year Ago
For the ninth straight month, Calgary was the leader in annual rent growth for apartments in Canada’s largest cities. Asking rents for purpose-built and condominium apartments in Calgary rose 14.7% year-over-year to reach an average of $2,093. Montreal maintained the second spot with annual rent growth of 10.2%, which averaged $2,046 in October.
Edmonton moved into third place for annual rent growth among Canada’s largest cities, with apartment rents increasing 8.6% year-over-year to an average of $1,461. Ottawa fell from third to fifth place as annual rent growth decelerated to 3.5% in October (from a 9.7% annual pace in September), with rents averaging $2,197. Asking rents for Ottawa apartments dipped 0.3% month-over-month.
In the most expensive of Canada’s largest cities, average asking rents for apartments declined 3.7% month-over-month in Vancouver to $3,215. Annual rent growth in Vancouver slowed to 4.4% in October (from 7.7% in September). In Toronto, asking rents for apartments posted a year-over-year decline of 0.8% to an average of $2,908 — the first annual rent decrease since August 2021.
Rents in Toronto’s Suburbs Still Rising Quickly
Among Canada’s 25 most expensive small- and medium-sized markets, 14 were located in Ontario, while nine were in B.C., and the remaining two cities were in Quebec.
The three most expensive small- and medium-sized cities for average apartment asking rents in October were all located in B.C., including North Vancouver ($3,360), Coquitlam ($3,116), and Richmond ($3,051).
Six of the 10 most expensive markets were located in Ontario, led by fourth-place Oakville ($3,008), sixth-place Vaughan ($2,754) and seventh-place Mississauga ($2,700). Outside of the GTA, the highest-rent markets in Ontario during October were in Kanata ($2,561), Barrie ($2,326), Guelph ($2,246), and Waterloo ($2,227).
The most expensive areas of Quebec for average apartment rents in October were represented by the Montreal markets of Côte Saint-Luc ($2,458) and Mount Royal ($2,427).
Côte Saint-Luc was the fastest-growing market for rents in October, posting a 36.6% annual increase. This was followed by 29.1% annual growth in Richmond, B.C., and 22.3% annual growth in Red Deer Alberta.
Overall, eight of the 25 fastest-growing small- and mid-sized markets for apartment rents were located in Ontario, six were located in Alberta, five were in Quebec and four were in B.C.
Roommate Rents Up 19% from Last Year
Listings for shared accommodations in B.C., Alberta, Ontario and Quebec increased 42% from a year ago during October. Average asking rents for roommate rentals grew 19% year-over-year to $964 per month.
Average rents for shared accommodations were highest in B.C. at $1,176, with Vancouver rents averaging $1,454. In Alberta, roommate listings were asking an average of $870 per month in October, including an average of $911 in Calgary and $737 in Edmonton. Ontario roommate rents were second highest in Canada at an average of $1,068, with Toronto averaging $1,312 and Ottawa averaging $966. In Montreal, the average asking rent for shared accommodations was $873.
The data used in this analysis is based on monthly listings from the Rentals.ca Network of Internet Listings Services (ILS). This data differs from the numbers collected and published by the Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC).
The Rentals.ca Network of ILS’s data covers both the primary and secondary rental markets and includes basement apartments, rental apartments, condominium apartments, townhouses, semi-detached houses, and single-detached houses. CMHC’s primary rental data only includes purpose-built rental apartments and rental townhouses. CMHC also collects data on secondary market rentals, but this is reported separately.
CMHC’s rental rates are based on the entire universe of purpose-built rental units (rental stock), regardless of rental tenure. CMHC rental rates are reflective of what the average household spends on rental housing and not the current market rents for vacant units. The data used in this report is based on the asking rates of available (vacant) units only and reflect on-going trends in the market. This covers a smaller sample size but is more representative of the actual market rent a prospective tenant would encounter. The Rentals.ca Network of ILS’s data typically provides much higher rental rates compared to CMHC, as vacant units typically reset to market rates when not subject to rent control.
The average and median rental rates in this report can also skew higher than CMHC’s data for the following reasons: the inclusion of larger more expensive unit types such as single-family homes, townhouse units, and large luxury condominium units; the presence of duplicate or multiple listings at the same property and the survivorship bias where more expensive or over-priced units take longer to lease and remain in the sample longer.
Properties listed for greater than $5,000 per month, and less than $500 per month are removed from the sample. Similarly, short-term rentals, single-room rentals, and furnished suites are removed from the sample when identifiable.