Canadian rental listings are really something else

Two years ago, $2,000 could go a long way in Canada’s major cities: We’re talking floor-to-ceiling windows, indoor swimming pools, and desirable downtown locations…

… these days, it’s all about staircase living and shared bedrooms. So, what happened?

Per CTV, the increasingly limited housing supply across the country is causing both developers and tenants to try and make the most of their space. All of it. But some of the arrangements are so unconventional that they’re starting to draw backlash online.

  • In Montréal, one developer turned what used to be staircases into tiny homes, listed at $1,995. Spread out over three storeys, the living space spans 350 square feet.
  • In Vancouver, a walk-through tour of a 200-square-foot unit went viral in a TikTok video (that’s since been deleted) after being advertised for $2,000 a month.
  • And in Toronto, a realtor posted a listing for a ‘shared room’ for $650 a month on TikTok, featuring one bunk bed that’s seemingly located in the foyer of a home. 

Why it matters: Canadians are struggling to keep up with rising rental prices nationwide. The average asking price for a new tenant is up 9.6% from last year (hitting $2,117 in August), while average hourly wages for permanent employees rose by just 5.2%.

  • Vancouver, Oakville, and Toronto are currently the most expensive cities where you could sign a lease, with the average cost of an apartment recently passing $3,000.
  • In Canada’s two largest cities, households must make at least $120,000 a year to meet ‘affordability’ metrics for an average rental (30% of income spent on housing).

Bottom line: One thing that can bring rental prices down is supply, which still lags behind demand. But just yesterday, Canada’s housing agency said it would be hard to maintain the pace of apartment construction due to soaring costs and rising interest rates.—SB