May rentals in GTA see largest monthly average rise in prices since 2019

·3 min read
Toronto saw the highest average monthly rent in May for condo and apartment rentals with a year-over-year increase of nearly 20 per cent. (David Donnelly/CBC - image credit)
Toronto saw the highest average monthly rent in May for condo and apartment rentals with a year-over-year increase of nearly 20 per cent. (David Donnelly/CBC - image credit)

A new report says rental prices in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in May saw the highest monthly jump since 2019, though they have yet to reach pre-pandemic rates.

The average monthly rental rate was $2,327 per month, up 5.7 per cent from April and 16.5 per cent year-over-year from $1,998 in May 2021, according to a report released Thursday by Bullpen Research & Consulting and TorontoRentals.com. That average includes single-family homes, condos and rental apartments.

The average monthly rental rate continues to rise as the market recovers from the pandemic-driven declines in 2020 and 2021, the report said. However, rental prices in May have not yet reached pre-pandemic levels, which saw the average rental reach $2,365 in May 2019.

The COVID declines may soon "become a thing of the past," said Ben Myers, president of Bullpen Research & Consulting, in the report.

"Rent's really shot up in May; [it] caught us off guard," Myers told CBC Toronto on Monday.

Myers said he expects prices to continue rising, in large part due to the hike in interest rates and people deciding to stay in the rental market instead of buying.

"We're still not back to those pre-pandemic rent highs from the fall of 2019, but things are definitely trending in that direction," he said.

Reduced supply, increased demand creating 'rapid rise'

Myers attributes the decrease in rental-market housing supply in Toronto to the interest rate hikes and the resulting growth in average monthly rent in May, Myers said.

"With the interest rate rise and prices softening and coming down, I think a lot of people are putting off buying their first property just to see what happens in the resale housing market."

Reduced housing supply, along with increased demand through immigration, students returning to in-person classes, workers returning to the office and recent graduates moving out of their parents homes, have all contributed to the "rapid rise" in rental prices, according to the report.

Toronto, which had the highest average monthly rent in May for condo and apartment rentals, saw a year-over-year increase of 19.8 per cent.

Following Toronto, Burlington was the second fastest with an 18.3 per cent annual increase in May 2022 — followed by Etobicoke at 17 per cent.

The following GTA municipalities saw a jump in average monthly rent:

  • Mississauga was up 12.9 per cent, at $2,224.

  • Oshawa was up 12.4 per cent, at $1,807.

  • York was up 12.2 per cent, at $2,083.

  • Oakville was up 11.2 per cent, at $2,299.

  • North York was up 10.2 per cent, at $2,102.

  • East York was up 8 per cent, at $1,898.

  • Brampton was up 4.4 per cent, at $1,950.

  • Markham was up 3 per cent, at $1,993.

  • Scarborough was up 2.5 per cent, at $1,850.

Meanwhile, Vaughan was the only region that saw its average rent for condo and apartment rentals fall by 6.6 per cent to $2,072, according to the report.

Rents 'out of control'

Alejandra Ruiz Vargas has been renting a two-bedroom apartment in East York where she has lived with her child and mother for the past 10 years. She says with the continued rise in rent, she can't imagine moving anytime soon.

"Rents are out of control, specifically right now," Ruiz Vargas said.

Ruiz Vargas, who is also chair of ACORN East York chapter, a group that advocates for tenants' rights, says people who are considering moving to Toronto "need to think twice."

"I would like to have a place, probably bigger sometimes, but it is what it is. I cannot move ... People are really struggling as it is," she said.

"The landlords think because they didn't charge [a] rent increase in 2021, they can do it now double ... This is the wild west."

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