Canadian rents hit record high, Vancouver leads costly cities: November report

The driving forces behind the surge include robust population growth and increased rental supply in Alberta, Quebec, and Nova Scotia, resulting in prices exceeding the average market rates.

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Canada witnessed a $175 increase in average rent over the past six months, hitting a peak of $2,178 in October, according to analysis from the November 2023 Rentals.ca Rent Report.

This marks the sixth consecutive month of record-breaking rents, with an annual growth rate of 9.9 percent in October, the second-highest in the past seven years, the CIC News reported.

The driving forces behind the surge, as outlined in the report, include robust population growth and increased rental supply in Alberta, Quebec, and Nova Scotia, resulting in prices exceeding the average market rates.

Most expensive cities

In terms of the most expensive cities to rent, Vancouver takes the lead, with an average rent of $2,872 for a 1-bedroom and $3,777 for a 2-bedroom. Other costly cities include Burnaby, Toronto, Oakville, and Mississauga. 

Toronto, meanwhile, experienced a slight drop in prices last month, marking the first annual decrease since August 2021. 

Province-wise trends

The province-wise trends indicate that British Columbia maintains the highest average asking rents at $2,639, but there’s a slight month-to-month decline, potentially signaling falling prices. 

On the other hand, Ontario records the slowest annual growth in apartment rents, with a 4.6 percent increase in October, compared to a 6.6 percent surge in September.

Least expensive cities to rent in

For those seeking more affordable options, the five least expensive cities to rent include Saskatoon, Regina, Fort McMurray, Red Deer, and Winnipeg. 

The report also provided guidance on navigating the Canadian rental market, highlighting the importance of considering factors such as the type of residence, preferred location, and budget.

Potential renters can explore various options, including apartments, single-family homes, duplexes, triplexes, townhouses, and individual rooms. Key resources for finding rentals include walking around neighborhoods, utilizing rental agencies, websites like Realtor.ca, and online platforms such as Zumper and PadMapper.

Additionally, bulletin boards in various community locations and the assistance of local immigrant settlement agencies can prove invaluable in securing suitable accommodation, with these agencies often offering services related to housing, tenant rights, and responsibilities.

Housing dilemma

The Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada has recently revealed plans to reevaluate and potentially revise its international student program to provide improved support and selection procedures for students during their tenure in the country. 

The pressing housing shortage in Canada has spurred conversations about the potential implementation of the nation’s inaugural cap on international student admissions, as reported by Erudera.com.

Acknowledging the challenges faced by the International Student Program, the IRCC expressed its commitment to reviewing program policies with a specific focus on enhancing the selection, retention, and overall support provided to international students throughout their stay in Canada. 

The department acknowledged the pressures on the program and affirmed its dedication to finding effective solutions.

The housing crisis has prompted the Canadian Housing Minister, Sean Fraser, to propose the idea of capping international student numbers as a potential measure to alleviate affordability challenges.

Rejecting blame on international students

Immigration Minister Marc Miller, however, expressed concerns about unfairly blaming immigrants and international students for the housing challenges, citing the need for a comprehensive and collaborative approach to address the issue.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also rejected blaming international students for the country’s housing crisis during a press conference. 

“It would be wrong to single out international students as a cause for Canada’s housing crisis, which is caused by multiple factors,” he said in a report via globalnews.ca.

He highlighted various factors contributing to the issue, such as foreign homebuyers, aggressive developers, and under-investment by governments. 

Trudeau emphasized the need for a comprehensive approach and acknowledged the interconnected nature of the challenges. 

Discussions within the cabinet include the connection between immigration targets and the housing crisis.

Advocacy groups cautioned against linking immigration to the housing crisis, emphasizing that immigrants themselves face housing challenges. 

The government is reviewing the international students program in response to concerns about fraud.

While the proposal has faced opposition from some Canadian provinces, which underscores the continued importance of international students, discussions occur against the backdrop of a significant increase in their numbers. 

Official data revealed a growth from 275,000 international students with valid visas in 2012 to over 800,000 in 2022, with projections suggesting a potential surge to over 900,000 in 2023. 

Frameworks and measures

Recently, Miller introduced a comprehensive framework aimed at enhancing standards in Canadian universities and colleges, set to be implemented in the fall of 2024. 

The focus is on improving services and support for international students in response to concerns about resource strain, particularly in housing and employment opportunities.

The framework prioritizes institutions meeting higher standards in the processing of student visas, with a key criterion being adequate housing for international students. This addresses challenges faced by these students, especially in high-demand areas like Toronto. To combat fraudulent admissions, institutions must directly confirm acceptance letters, starting December 1.

The review of the post-graduate work permit program aligns with labor market needs, emphasizing the government’s commitment to meaningful contributions by international students to Canada’s workforce.

The measures also address the financial dependency of Canadian educational institutions on international students, who pay substantially higher tuition fees. 

The reliance has led to unconventional college locations and a surge in tuition fees covered by international students.

Jaleen Ramos

Jaleen Ramos

Jaleen Ramos has been a professional journalist for five years now. She has contributed and covered stories for premier Philippine dailies and publications, and has traveled to different parts of the country to capture and tell the most significant stories happening.

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Jaleen Ramos

Jaleen Ramos

Jaleen Ramos has been a professional journalist for five years now. She has contributed and covered stories for premier Philippine dailies and publications, and has traveled to different parts of the country to capture and tell the most significant stories happening.

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