Toronto Rental Vacancy Rates Tighten as Rents Rise

November 28, 2017

Toronto Apartments

Slight increase in new rental units falls far short of rise in demand

Rental vacancy rates hit an unwelcome milestone in Toronto this year, according to annual data published by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) November 28.

In the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), vacancies in purpose-built apartments now stand at 1%, down from 1.3% a year ago, according to the federal housing agency’s yearly survey. And among the smaller number of condos that are rented out, vacancies have fallen from 1% a year ago to 0.7% this fall.

Across Ontario as a whole, purpose-built rental vacancies fell from 2.1% in fall 2016 to 1.6% this year, as increased demand far outstripped the 8,551-unit increase in new purpose-built apartments across the province.

The CMHC said that a strengthening Ontario economy, leading to increased new jobs and demand for rental housing among young employees was a key factor, along with higher mortgage costs leading renters to stay out of homeownership longer.

The CMAs of Kingston, Thunder Bay and Hamilton saw even sharper declines in vacancy rates than Toronto, with Kingston’s rate dropping dramatically from 2.7% a year ago to 0.7% in 2017.

Unsurprisingly, average rents continued to increase faster than inflation – although not as fast as in Vancouver, even though vacancies have eased slightly in that CMA. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Toronto CMA this fall is $1,194, up 4.4% from last year’s $1,132. In a rental condo, that figure rises to $1,803.

Across the whole of Ontario, the average rent for a one-bedroom purpose-built apartment is up 3.9% year over year to $1,144. 


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Joannah Connolly has been editor and content manager of since May 2014. Joannah has appeared on major local TV outlets as a real estate commentator, and has moderated and spoken on several industry panels. During this time, she also spent two years hosting the Real Estate Therapist radio show on Roundhouse Radio 98.3FM. A dual Canadian-British citizen, Joannah has 20 years of journalism experience in Vancouver and London, with a prior background in construction, architecture and business media.
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