Toronto Rental Vacancy Rates Tighten as Rents Rise

Joannah Connolly
November 28, 2017

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
Joannah Connolly is editorial director of Glacier Real Estate, Glacier Media's real estate division. Joannah writes and curates real estate news for Glacier Media's local newspaper websites, including the Vancouver Courier, North Shore News, Burnaby Now, Tri-City News and others. She also oversees editorial content in Real Estate Weekly Homes, West Coast Condo, Western Investor and Glacier's special real estate publications. A dual Canadian-British citizen, Joannah has 22 years of journalism and editing experience in Vancouver and London, with a background in construction, architecture, healthcare and business media. Joannah has appeared on major local TV outlets as a real estate commentator, has moderated and spoken on various industry panels, and spent two years hosting the Real Estate Therapist radio show on Roundhouse Radio.