TORONTO — Rent prices in some parts of the Greater Toronto Area that faced massive declines due to the COVID-19 pandemic are starting to pick up, according to a new report, but other parts continue to struggle.
The report by Bullpen Research & Consulting and TorontoRentals.com published on Wednesday found that rent prices in some parts of the GTA are starting to stabilize, but others are continuing to face month-over-month declines.
“The rapid declines in rental rates experienced in 2020 have dissipated in 2021, as the average monthly rental rates as well as the average rents per square foot appear to have remained fairly steady over the past four months,” the report stated.
The rental market has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Between January and December 2020, the average rent in the GTA decreased by 16 per cent. So far, in 2021 the average rental rate decreased by one per cent, according to the report.
Municipalities in the GTA that saw month-over-month increases include Oakville (4.9 per cent), Aurora (4.1 per cent), Brampton (4 per cent), Milton (3.8 per cent), Ajax (2.3 per cent), York (1.2 per cent), Markham (0.3 per cent) and Scarborough (0.1 per cent.)
The average rent for a condo or rental apartment in Vaughan experienced the largest month-to-month increase in the GTA in April 2021, rising by nearly 10 per cent. Pickering saw the second highest increase of 8.3 per cent.
Toronto rental prices grew by just under one per cent month-over-month, but the report says data is indicating that tenant demand is increasing downtown.
Whitchurch-Stouffville and Richmond Hill experienced the largest month-over-month decrease in average rent, both declining over five per cent, the report found.
Month-over-month rent declines for condo rentals and apartments were also recorded for Oshawa (3.1 per cent), East York (1.5 per cent) Mississauga (1.4 per cent), North York and Newmarket (0.7 per cent) and Whitby (0.5 per cent).
It also found that the average rent in 2021 for a furnished unit was higher than unfurnished units, and that the average rent for larger units has increased, while the average for smaller units continues to decrease.
“Tenants are seeking larger properties while they work from home and their children learn virtually. With the stay-at-home order in place, many prospective tenants are looking for a property with a back yard,” the report stated.
The average rent for studio, one, and two-bedroom suites were all down over 15 per cent annually, the report said.
Average rents in April 2021 were $1,453 for a studio, $1,753 for a one-bedroom, and $2,210 for a two-bedroom, all down by around $250 from a year earlier. Four-bedroom units experienced an annual increase in average rent of 10 per cent in April 2021.
Despite Toronto seeing a month-over-month increase in average rent prices of 0.9 per cent in the first four months on 2021, some Toronto neighbourhoods are still seeing significant drops.
High Park North saw the lowest annual decline at three per cent, while Yonge-St. Clair experienced the highest decline at 39 per cent. Other neighbourhoods with significant drops include Palmerston-Little Italy and Forest Hill North both with a 31 per cent drop, and Casa Loma and Greenwood-Coxwell with a 29 per cent drop.
“Despite more vaccines getting into arms and an inevitable end of the lockdowns in the GTA, the work-from-home trend looks like it’s here to stay for many workplaces in 2021,” the report stated.
“This most likely means the rental rates for the smaller units in the downtown area will be slow to recover, while the rental rates for larger units in the suburbs will continue to be popular in the foreseeable future.”
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