If you're looking to move into a condo in Waterloo Region, your wallet won't thank you.
While rental prices in Toronto continue to slide—partially due to the pandemic and high population density—that means surrounding cities and areas are seeing their prices increase.
"All the cities surrounding Toronto and the GTA are going higher because people are finding more square footage, office space for a lower price in some of these outlying smaller cities," said Paul Danison, content director for Rentals.ca. "They're working from home, they don't have to go into the office. You've got about a two hour drive from the tri-cities and Guelph, so if you have to go into the office once it's not really a big deal."
The report was released by Rentals.ca and Bullpen Research & Consulting, and notes that landlords are deperately trying to retain their Toronto tenants.
"When controlling for bedroom types, one-bedroom suites are down 11 per cent and two-bedroom units are down 9 per cent in the GTA," said a release in part. "But this is not the whole story, as owners of recently completed high-end apartments, are offering significant discounts or incentives such as two months free rent."
Despite their best efforts, the migration continues into places like Waterloo Region. As a result, rental rates for 500-square-foot units in Kitchener are up 20 per cent annually, 800-square-foot units are up 21 per cent, and 1,000-square-foot units are up 34 per cent year over year.
"Many younger tenants in the GTA are leaving the region, even if it is only temporarily, to take advantage of much less expensive rent levels in other cities in Ontario," said Ben Myers, president of Bullpen Research & Consulting. "The average rental rate for a 1,000-square-foot condo in Kitchener is up 34 per cent annually, but is still cheaper than a 500-square-foot unit in Mississauga, Etobicoke, North York or Toronto."
Kitchener is once again defying the national average, and that's expected to continue throughout the pandemic for places of its size. The average rent for all Canadian properties listed on Rentals.ca in September was $1,769 per month, down 9.5% annually.
Kitchener's one-bedroom average rent is around $1,500 (17.4 per cent monthly increase), two-bedroom around $1,600 (10.2 per cent monthly increase).
Waterloo's one-bedroom average rent is around $1,646 (7.6 per cent monthly increase), two-bedroom around $1,700 (0.5 per cent monthly increase).
Cambridge's one-bedroom average rent is around $1,462 (4.2 per cent monthly increase), two-bedroom around $1,785 (0.7 per cent monthly increase).
Guelph also saw an increase in average rent for one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, now more expensive than Kitchener in those categories. The one-bedroom average rent is around $1,541, two-bedroom around $1,840.
The report found that smaller apartments are sliding in price as more people look for space to work from home. It also noted that 75 per cent of Canadians who lost work because of the pandemic are now working again, which will likely lead to increasing rental prices throughout the winter.