Rent unit prices in GTA skyrocket amid historic inflation

The Toronto-area rental market is in shambles, according to data in recent rental market reports, real estate experts and tenants from across the GTA.Average monthly rents in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) increased 19 per cent year over year in June — rising to $2,403 from $2,018 in June 2021, according to the latest Bullpen Research and Consulting and Toronto GTA Rent Report.Following May’s 5.7 per cent month-over-month increase, average rents jumped another 3.1 per cent in June, the second highest monthly increase in more than three-and-a-half years.Reduced supply coupled with increased demand from immigration, more students and recent graduates moving out of their parents’ homes have contributed to the rapid rise in rents, the June Toronto Rent Report found.

In the latest report, North York average rents for condos were up 16 per cent year over year to $2,487; Scarborough’s average rents rose 15 per cent to $2,344; and Etobicoke’s average rent for condos were up nine per cent year over year to $2,446.

Peter D’Gama, chair of tenant advocacy group ACORN’s Etobicoke chapter, called the rental cost hikes a dire situation demanding government attention.

“Increasing rental rates are putting increasing pressure on buying basic things like food,” he said.

D’Gama said inflation has been exacerbated by what corporations did during the height of the pandemic.

“They took advantage of the pandemic to raise prices and increase profits,” D’Gama said.

Now, with the pandemic rent freezes gone, landlords are taking advantage and charging tenants more, he said.

The rent report’s authors blamed tightening supply on high inflation, rising interest rates, more short-term rentals and supply-chain issues. There are also fewer tenants becoming first-time homebuyers amid an uncertain economy.

For those looking to rent right now, one real estate expert warned against waiting for prices to drop.

“I don’t know if I would wait for rent to fall because there’s going to be a lot of pressure on the rental market over the next year or two,” said John Pasalis, president and broker-of-record at Realosophy Realty in Toronto.

“You’re probably just better locking in and making sure you’re in a rent-controlled property,” he said.

International student Negin Ehtesham said she was fortunate to find her current rental unit in downtown Toronto during the height of the global pandemic when prices were down.

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