Rents up in Ajax and Burlington for the first time since March 2020


Published November 25, 2021 at 9:10 am

Suburban markets like Richmond Hill, Burlington and Ajax are leading the charge after rents in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) increased year over year for the first time since March 2020.

The average monthly rent for all property types in the GTA was up 1.6 per cent in October to $2,137 over October 2020 ($2,103), according to the latest Bullpen Research & Consulting and Toronto GTA Rent Report.  

The average monthly rental rates steadily declined throughout 2020 and into the early part of this year, hitting a low of $1,971 in March before beginning to slowly climb.

The narrative that tenants are leaving the downtown core for larger units in suburban areas is still showing up in the data, as the average rents for Ajax, Richmond Hill, Burlington and Markham all experienced annual increases in average rent of more than seven per cent in October. Toronto experienced an annual increase of 3.9 per cent in October.

Richmond Hill’s average rental price spiked 13.8 per cent from 2020 to $2,6015, with Burlington rentals rising 11 per cent to $2,275. Ajax had the third largest increase at eight per cent. Rents in Ajax now average $2,078 per month.

Markham (7.7 per cent) and Oshawa (4.4 per cent) round out the top five. Oshawa’s average rental rate is now $1,787 per month.

Comparing October figures to March of this year, prospective tenants seeking a studio unit are looking at spending $60 more on rent based on the average asking rents; tenants looking for a one-bedroom could spend $120 more than they might have in March; while two-bedroom units are nearly $160 more expensive per month than seven months earlier.

“October marked a milestone in the COVID-19 recovery; average rents were up year over year for the first time since the pandemic started,” said Ben Myers, president of Bullpen Research & Consulting. “For anyone who has looked for a rental apartment in the past, nothing is more normal than rising rents in the Greater Toronto Area.”

Average monthly rents for single-family homes have risen 16.6 per cent year over year in October, and average rents for condo apartments have risen 11.8 per cent year over year.

The main downtown Toronto postal codes have all experienced significant annual rent growth, with two of the most active areas, M5V and M5A, seeing average rents increases of 13.6 per cent and 15.5 per cent respectively.

The average rent for condo apartments has risen 11.8 per cent year over year from $2,161 per month in October 2020 to $2,416 per month this October. But the average investor-held condo for rent is still $145 per month cheaper than October 2019, as the average rent steadily declined the latter half of 2019 and all of 2020.

Apartments have yet to experience the same levels of recovery as condo and single-family homes. Year over year, the average rental rate for apartments has declined 2.2 per cent from $2,013 in October 2020 to $1,969 this October. One caveat here is that incentives for apartments were high last year at this time, and many of those incentives are no longer offered. Many vacant units in higher-rent areas such as Toronto have now been leased, leaving a higher share of the listings in lower-rent areas

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