Average rents declined for all sizes of apartments, yet it was more pronounced for smaller-sized dwellings. The average rent for a bachelor apartment in the third quarter declined by 15.5 per cent year over year, while hard-to-find three-bedroom apartments declined 8.7 per cent.
The type of housing also mattered: The average rent of a three-bedroom apartment declined, but it increased by 1.1 per cent for a similar-sized townhouse.
These trends are in line with the broader shifts observed since the onset of COVID-19, namely, increasing demand for ground-oriented, larger-sized dwellings with backyards and nearby open spaces.
The impact of COVID-19 is evident in Toronto’s urban core where rental listings in Toronto have increased the most. For instance, apartment listings in the GTA during the third quarter increased by 113.9 per cent, but the growth is much more pronounced in the downtown (TRREB’s District C01), where listings numbered 12,795 in 2020 compared to 4,931 a year ago, a 159 per cent increase.
The increase in downtown rental listings is partly driven by changes in rental regulations, which led to the conversion of short-term rental units to long-term rentals, and partly by the completion of new condominium buildings that contributed new rental units to the vacancy mix.