An agency that tracks rental listings across Canada says rents and demand for a living space were significantly larger in August compared with the same month a year ago.
The latest report from Rentals.ca says the country on average saw increases of $200 year over year in monthly rents, with the average listing also receiving 38 per cent more views than estimates from 2021.
Hamilton’s listings for a single-bedroom condominium or rental apartment rose about $250 on average from 2021 to $1,696 in August, while a two-bedroom dwelling was up around $450 to $2,167.
The increases equate to a 15.5 per cent and 21.5 per cent bump, respectively, from last year.
Bullpen Research president Ben Myers says continued interest rate hikes from the Bank of Canada are dissuading potential home buyers from purchasing a residence.
“It’s sending more demand into the rental market,” Myers said.
“Despite some negative economic data nationally, the $1,959 per month average rent in Canada is the highest tracked by Rentals.ca, topping the previous high of $1,954 in September 2019.”
He also suggests most Canadian cities are not up for the demand and are “significantly undersupplied” based on numbers checking out rental listings online in August.
Increases month over month for a one-bedroom in Hamilton were fairly modest, inching up just a couple of dollars, while a two-bedroom is up an average of $120 from July 2022.
For Ontario, two-bedroom apartments increased by an average of 13 per cent annually, while one-bedroom apartments went up eight per cent.
Across Canada, Vancouver had the highest listing average combining one- and two-dwelling sizes, $3,184 per month.
The city also had the third-highest annual rental inflation of 24.4 per cent.
London had the highest annual rent growth, 26.5 per cent, with the average listing for a one-bedroom checking in at $1,783 and two beds at $2,112.
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Toronto’s average listings in August were $2,329 for a single bedroom and $3,266 per month for two.
Nationwide, three-bedroom units had the largest annual spike in rates, 10.7 per cent, moving the average price across Canada to $2,475 per month.
Myers says rental rates for large units continue to see year-over-year appreciation compared with smaller residences.
“With more Canadians shut out of the ownership market due to higher interest rates, it is conceivable that there are more upper middle-class renters than there have been in previous years,” Myers said.
An executive with Hamilton’s Roundtable for Poverty Reduction took that assessment a step further adding that rental housing is becoming “completely unaffordable” for residents in the city.
Tom Cooper says lower income families in Hamilton most likely have to rent simply because housing prices have skyrocketed in recent months with the average having hit a $1 million is 2022.
“That makes it very, very difficult for younger families, particularly to move into the homeownership market,” said Cooper.
“So they’re staying in rental accommodations longer, and that’s creating a situation where there’s been a trickle down effect pushing rent prices up because there’s so much demand.”
His agency regularly encounters residents relying on city and provincial programs for aid, like the Ontario Disability Support Program and Ontario Works, and he says it’s virtually impossible for many to find a place that doesn’t gobble up 80 or 90 per cent of their income on housing.
“That is a completely unsustainable situation,” Cooper remarked.
“It is absolutely a housing crisis, not only here in Hamilton, but we are feeling it particularly keenly abroad.”