Toronto's rent is affordable compared to other global financial hubs, study finds

Paying $1,776 per month in Toronto is a decent deal, apparently.

City 13th most powerful money market, but has 26th most expensive rent

Toronto's housing market is cheaper than other global financial centres, but that might not be the case for long. (John Rieti/CBC)

Rent in Toronto is a bargain — if you compare it to other global financial centres.

That's the conclusion of a recent report by RentCafe, a U.S.-based online service that helps people find apartments in cities like San Francisco, Washington and Chicago.

Toronto sits 13th on a list of the 30 top financial centres in the world, the report says, citing data from the organization Z/Yen. But it only has the 26th highest rent among that same group of cities.

"I know for locals, housing in Toronto is expensive," said Nadia Balint, a RentCafe spokesperson. "But compared to other major financial powerhouses around the world, Toronto's rental market seems quite reasonable."

Three American cities top the chart when it comes to rent prices. Montreal, meanwhile, is the second cheapest. (RENTCafe.com)

Less reasonable? New York City's average price for a one-bedroom apartment: $4,900 CDN per month.

The RentCafe study pegs the average rent for a one-bedroom Toronto apartment of just under 1,000 square feet at about $1,600 per month, based on data from one of its sister companies, Point2Homes.  

The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) estimates, however, that the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom condo sits at $1,776.

The discrepancy doesn't change Toronto's ranking, but it does bring it closer to cities like Frankfurt, Germany, as well as Vancouver ($1,868 per month, according to RentCafe) and Osaka, Japan.

City needs more rental housing, study author says

But Toronto's comparatively low prices may not last long.

TREB reports the average rent price went up 7.4 per cent last year, while hundreds of renters have told CBC Toronto they've encountered massive rent hikes in recent years.

"Given the rising prices and Toronto becoming a relocation destination for many looking for jobs in the financial sector, this growing demand could mean rising prices," Balint said.

Plenty of condos are going up in Toronto, but the demand continues to climb. (David Donnelly/CBC)

Balint said she believes Toronto needs to build more rental housing if it wants to avoid issues of unaffordability.

"If they're not building enough, then the prices will keep climbing," she said.

Renters are also bearing the brunt of the skyrocketing home prices, which are keeping more people in the rental market, Balint said.

The RentCafe study has several limitations. For example, it doesn't track how much employees are earning in each city nor does it factor in the vacancy rate — Toronto's condo vacancy rate is hovering around one per cent, the lowest it's been in seven years. 

About the Author

John Rieti

John Rieti covers city hall and city issues for CBC Toronto. Born and raised in Newfoundland, John has worked in CBC newsrooms across the country in search of great stories. Outside of work, catch him running or cycling around, often armed with a camera, always in search of excellent coffee.

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