Canadian Rental Market Update – January 2021 

We sat down with part of our team of leasing agents based in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal to discuss their insider perspectives on trends in the rental market in their own regions as well as across Canada for the month of January 2021.  

What We Are Seeing Across Canada 

People Want More Space 

It is not surprising that COVID-19 has affected the rental market, changing renter’s priorities in what they look for in a desirable property. shift in the workforce to more work-from-home options are becoming seemingly permanent and so are causing a rise in demand for larger spaces, or at least outdoor space, to accommodate a more home-bound lifestyleYear over year across all our markets, we have recorded a 143% increase in rentals for detaches houses and a 122% increase in penthouse rentals. Our agents have noticed an uptick in renters needs for garages to accommodate personal transportation. Overall, people are looking for more space for not only themselves but for storage. Working remotely has also allowed renters to look outside of city centres for accommodation as they no longer have to consider commuting to a workplace. We have seen year over year that while condo rentals are on the whole up 27.9%, demand for 1-bedrooms is down 16.7% while 2-bedrooms is up 78%. 

What We Are Seeing in Toronto

Still Demand for Furnished 

While this is not necessarily something that has changed over our time listing rentals in Toronto, we continue to notice an ongoing interest in tenants looking to rent furnished properties. This does call property owners to be aware of keeping up to date on having well maintained furnishings in order to remain competitive 

Less International Renters 

Due to border closures, halting of air travel, and many workplaces and universities allowing people to remote-in from their home countries, the rental market has turned relatively local-focusedOne of the few industries that we have seen rental needs from in Toronto is production companies who are approved to move international workers. Because of recent city crackdowns on short-term rental companies (such as VRBO ending services in Toronto) as well as lack of vacationing travelers, there is more inventory of condos that were previously being used for these sorts of renters. 

What We Are Seeing in Montreal 

Local Movement 

Our team in Montreal has noticed a rise in tenants inquiring on properties in the Montreal area, a large majority of them being local. Our Montreal team has a few theories as to why we are seeing an upward trend of interested tenants compared to December 2020One possibly is due to a larger supply on the market: many tenants are shopping around and seeing if they can upgrade and rent larger homes. We have seen an increase in demand for 1-bedrooms with dens and 2-bedrooms as opposed to last year seeing a large demand in Montreal for 1bedroom apartments. Another notable trend that we are seeing is insurance claims and renovations as drivers for relocation to furnished rentals. With Montreal heading into its fifth month of lockdown, people are using their homes more than ever before.  

What We Are Seeing in Vancouver 

Moving for Less Lockdown Restrictions 

Our Vancouver team has noticed an uptick of tenants who are relocating from other parts of North America due to their jobs allowing them to work from home and to avoid the stricter lockdowns seen in other parts of the continent.

While COVID cases in Vancouver have been in concerning numbers, BC has been considerably less strict with restrictions and lockdowns compared to other regions due to comparatively lower case numbers. We have noticed that the BC rental market, while it definitely has had to change and adapt over the last year, has been less impacted by COVID than other areas we represent. Year over year, we have seen growth in all parts of the Vancouver rental market, with a 93% increase in rented 1-bedroom plus den condos, a 158.3% increase in rented 2-bedroom (as well as plus dencondos, and 75% rental increase in detached houses. 

Key Takeaways 

Over the past year, tenants have been changing what has been historically in-demand in Canadian cities. With more supply in the market due to less international travel and closure of vacation short-term rental companies in major cities, the market is currently in a condition that favours renters. We have seen many property owners need to lean on their profits from past yearsProperty owners are highly benefiting from our rental rate consulting and marketing exposure, and continue to operate with guidance from our leasing team on new rental rates.  

Overall, despite challenges over this past year, there is still movement in the rental market. It is important to ensure proper pricing in a competitive market, and our agents are more than happy to assist property owners avoid vacancies and set good rental rates that align with today’s market. 

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