Between July and September, the average rent for a condominium unit in Toronto was $1,986 per month according to a report by real estate consulting firm Urbanation.
“There’s virtually no vacancy in the marketplace,” said Vice President Shaun Hildebrand. And it’s this lack of supply — along with other factors — that’s fueling the price surge.
“I think on the one hand you’re seeing extremely strong demand. We’re seeing high levels of immigration into the GTA this year.”
This, combined with fewer first-time buyers in the marketplace, has contributed to the nine per cent increase in average rents compared to last year.
CityPlace resident Afsana Tabibi has been renting for only six months and already feels the strain. “There isn’t a work life balance here in Toronto, it’s work work work,” she said. “The rent has a lot to do with that because we have to be able to live.”
Toronto’s Housing Advocate, Councillor Ana Bailao, says the surge in price is troubling.
“You lose the opportunity to attract a lot of investment that wants to come to our city,” she said.
Many believe Airbnb, an online company facilitating short-term rentals, is aggravating the problem by removing units from the long-term rental supply.
The city of Toronto is currently keeping a close eye on what Vancouver is considering with respect to Airbnb’s short-term rental model.
“They’ve maintained that if you have a house, you can rent out a portion of it. But if you have an independent unit that’s stand alone, you shouldn’t be able to necessarily rent out the entire unit,” said Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam.
Unfortunately renters looking for relief may not find it anytime soon.
“I think it’s probably going to intensify,” said Hildebrand, speaking of the increase in rental prices.
“With the recent mortgage rate changes, it’s going to be tougher for first-time buyers to get into the marketplace. And it’s also going to be more difficult for condo investors who have been supplying the majority of new rental units to obtain financing as they are no longer able to obtain financing to rental units,” he added.