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Asking rent prices in March up 8.8% from year ago, but down from February: Urbanation

TORONTO — A new report says the asking rent for a home in Canada in March was up 8.8 per cent compared with a year ago, but down from February.

The report by Urbanation, which analyzes monthly listings from Rentals.ca, says the average asking rent for all home types was $2,181 last month.

On a month-over-month basis, asking rents in March were down 0.6 per cent.

Based on the report, the average asking rent for a one-bedroom unit in Canada was $1,915, up 11.3 per cent from a year ago, while the average asking price for a two-bedroom was $2,295, up 10.6 per cent from March 2023.

Overall, asking rents for purpose-built rental apartments in March increased 12.7 per cent compared with a year earlier to reach an average of $2,117. Condominium apartment rents averaged $2,321, up 3.9 per cent from March 2023.

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The federal government has vowed to tackle the increasing financial pressure renters are facing. Late last month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a bill of rights for renters, among other supports.

The bill of rights, to be developed and implemented in partnership with provinces and territories, would require landlords to disclose a clear history of apartment pricing "so renters can bargain fairly."

The measures would also make sure rental payment history is taken into account on credit scores, giving first-time buyers a better chance at getting a mortgage with a lower interest rate.

The increase in the national average came as the average asking rents for purpose-built and condominium apartments in B.C. fell 1.9 per cent year-over-year to $2,494.

Ontario had the second highest average asking rents last month, edging up 0.4 per cent from March 2023 to reach $2,410.

Alberta and Saskatchewan posted the fastest-growing rents, with total average asking prices up 18.3 and 18.2 per cent annually last month, respectively, to reach $1,728 and $1,297.

On a municipal basis, average asking rents in Vancouver moved down 4.9 per cent to $2,993 last month. While Vancouver rents remain the highest among Canada’s largest cities, it marks the first time since July 2022 that they fell below the $3,000-level.

Toronto's average rental prices also declined 1.3 per cent to $2,782, representing the third consecutive month of annual rent declines.

The strongest rent growth among Canada’s largest cities was in Edmonton, reaching an average of $1,507 in March — a 15.9 per cent gain from the same month in 2023.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2024.

The Canadian Press