Posthaste: Rents in Canada’s two most expensive cities are dropping at record rates

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Good morning!

With immigration stalled during the COVID-19 pandemic, rental markets in some of Canada’s biggest and most expensive cities have seen record declines.

Toronto and Vancouver, both gateways for new Canadians, have had rents drop in the double digits since the year before.

In its Canadian National Rent Report, PadMapper, an online rental site covering Canada and the United States, analyzed August listings in 24 Canadian cities to determine where median rent prices were going.

In Toronto, one and two-bedroom rents are down 10% and 12%, to $2,070 and $2,630 respectively, from a year ago. From the month before, they slipped 1.4% and 0.8%.

In Vancouver one and two-bedroom rents were down 9.1% and 14.1%, to $2,000 and $2,750 respectively. From the month before, rents dropped 2.9% and 1.8%.

Data from another study on Toronto condo rental listings support the findings. In the second quarter, condo rental listings rose 45% year over year in the second quarter, while the number of condos rented dropped 25%, said online realtor Zoocasa, in an earlier study.

Condo rental listings increased in 25 of the 35 neighbourhoods in the study, with 20 of them seeing jumps in the double-digits.

But while PadMapper’s analysis found rents falling in the most expensive markets, the rest of Canada appears to be recovering from the sudden halt in demand during the pandemic.

Half of the 24 cities studied saw rents grow from the month before. Another trend the study identifies: “As Canada continues to reopen, the desire to move away from pricey cities is becoming more and more apparent.”

Here are the cities that saw the biggest monthly changes:

Rents falling

Barrie, ON — Somewhat surprisingly, this bedroom community to Toronto was the fourth priciest rental market in the country until last month. Then in the biggest monthly decline in Canada, rents in Barrie fell 4.9% to $1,560 in August, making it the fifth most expensive.

St. John’s, NL — The cheapest market on the ranking of 24 cities, the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador nonetheless saw one-bedroom rents dip 3.6% to $810.

London, ON — This city in southwestern Ontario ranks 14th most expensive in the country. One-bedroom rents here dropped 3.3% to $1,170.

Rents rising

Abbotsford, B.C. — One-bedroom rents climbed 5.5% to $1,160, the biggest monthly increase in the country. The city moved up one spot to rank 16th most expensive.

Halifax, N.S. — moved up two positions to the 14th priciest market (on par with London, ON) with one-bedroom rents jumping 5.4% to $1,170.