Looking for Cheap Rent in Toronto? Skip the Condos

Every once in a while you’ll hear of a new study being published that highlights the low affordability of renting in Toronto.  In 2018, the numbers most often cited exceed $2000 per month for a one-bedroom apartment. (See for example the report by PadMapper, which has been referenced a lot in the media recently.)

Since many of these reports are compiled by real estate market affiliates, one thing that often gets glossed over is that what they are in fact citing is the average cost to rent a one-bedroom condo.  It does not take into consideration non-condo dwellings, and thus excludes the price of purpose-built rental apartment buildings, as well as apartments within private houses.

If you dig a bit deeper into the costs of renting an apartment in Toronto, you’ll understand why my top tip for finding more affordable rent is to not bother looking at condo rentals in the first place.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation periodically publishes reports on the housing situation in various locations across Canada, and this includes detailed reports about the cost of renting in different dwelling types.  Their most recent report on the Rental Market in the Greater Toronto Area is from 2017 and cites the following statistics:

rent-condo-v-apartment

Above we can see that while the average rent of a one-bedroom condo in downtown/central Toronto (encompassing the former City of Toronto, York and East York) was $2019 in October 2017, by contrast the average rent of a one-bedroom in a “purpose built rental building with at least three rental units” was $1280 — that’s over $700 less for the same-sized apartment in the same geographical area!  And this difference can be even bigger with larger sized apartments, such that the cost of renting a 3+ bedroom regular apartment is on par with with cost of renting a 1-bedroom condo.

Imagine what you could do with $700 every month… that’s $8,400 every year!

Of course, the other thing to take into consideration is the age of the building. Condominiums tend to be newer and more modern, and it should be noted that a lot of the purpose-built rental buildings that are being constructed now or that have been constructed within the last couple of years tend to charge rents that are in line with what is being charged to rent a condo.  For instance, I recently contacted the management of a new rental building that went up in my neighbourhood to inquire about the rent there and was quoted $2200 for a one-bedroom.

Needless to say, there are lots of variables when it comes to choosing where to live/rent in Toronto and subsequently the cost of renting your apartment.

This month, my Friday posts will focus on the topic of renting in Toronto, where I will offer additional tips and considerations for those looking for affordable rent in the city.  So check back next week for Part 2 of my “Cheap Rent in Toronto” series.

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