Rents in Canada could continue to increase as economy re-opens: Rentals.ca

The average rent in Canada has increased for the third month in a row, a new report says, up 1.8 per cent in July over June figures but still down 1.1 per cent from 2020 values.

Although Winnipeg’s is down slightly in July — now sitting at $1,179 for a one-bedroom unit and $1,462 for a two-bedroom unit — its average rents have increased eight and 9.8 per cent respectively since last year, according to a report by Bullpen Research & Consulting and Rentals.ca.

Winnipeg placed 25th out of 35 Canadian cities for average monthly rents in July, with Vancouver leading the pack and Toronto coming in second.

“The main takeaway is that as the pandemic recedes, rents are increasing,” content director of Rentals.ca, Paul Danison, told Global News.

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Danison said he anticipates rents will go up even further as demand increases, as the Canada-U.S. border re-opens and as students return to schools, among other things, adding that people are more ready to move right now.

“We have, for rents, eclipsed pre-pandemic levels in Winnipeg. Now, in other areas, that’s not necessarily the case,” Danison said.

He said Toronto and Vancouver, along with other cities, are still down from pre-pandemic figures.

The market peaked in September 2019, with an average national monthly rent of $1,954, but then fell 14.3 per cent to a low of $1,675 in April this year. Although they’ve increased gradually since then, monthly rents are still around $200 cheaper than they were in September two years ago.

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“As employees get called back to the office, and colleges and universities announce their reopening plans, demand has increased significantly in central locations, especially in Toronto and Vancouver, where bidding wars are being reported again for rental properties,” Bullpen Research & Consulting president, Ben Myers, said in a news release Wednesday.

“The luxury rental market is returning, pulling average rental rates up with it,” Myers said.

The upward trend in national rental prices comes as the real estate market is showing some signs of easing in Manitoba.

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Although housing sales still went strong in July, the Manitoba Real Estate Association (MREA) says 2,008 residential properties traded hands last month, down 2.5 per cent from last month.

“Prior to COVID-19, five straight months of 2,000-plus sales in Manitoba was unheard of,” MREA 2021 president Stewart Elston said in a news release.

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Elston added that a drop in additional listings means current levels won’t be able to be maintained, although home sales have remained relatively consistent over the spring and summer.

Despite the anticipated cooling of the local real estate market, the province has seen a 38 per cent increase in sales over 2020 figures, with average prices up 10.8 per cent.

“We continue to experience strong buyer demand that is preventing inventory on the market from replenishing to pre-COVID-19 levels,” Elston said. “It remains an opportune time in the market for Manitobans who are considering listing their home.”

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Lethbridge rental property rates on the rise

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