Ontario's Apartment Rental Overview
Ontario remains Canada’s most populous, vibrant and prosperous province, driven by Toronto’s engine of development. In addition, there are numerous other larger cities and regions, all offering apartment rentals in different contexts. There is Hamilton, with McMaster University and its still dynamic industrial base. It’s the gateway to the Niagara region, offering dynamic tourism and a growing wine country, along with several Niagara College campuses—plus one of Ontario’s major gateways to the U.S.
Heading east, rental apartments surround Queen’s University in Kingston. Ottawa and the National Capital Region, with of course Parliament, government offices and several major universities, is also an economic bright spot, and strong market for apartment rentals, like those found on RentersPages.com. Traveling West from Toronto the corridor from Guelph through to London, Stratford, Sarnia and Windsor also offers a wide variety of rental apartments and another gateway to the U.S. RentersPages.com has significant experience with all of these areas and the following is an Ontario provincial overview.
Vacancies higher in Ontario
According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) Fall 2012 Rental Market Survey, “Ontario vacancy rates edged higher to 2.5 per cent in October 2012, up from 2.2 per cent in the fall of 2011.” But while vacancy rates moved up they still remained close to “recent decade lows.” With the exception of Windsor, Peterborough, Hamilton, London, Thunder Bay and Sudbury, vacancy rates moved higher in other centres. The lowest vacancy rate was registered in Thunder Bay and Toronto while the highest vacancy rates were registered in Windsor, St.Catharines-Niagara and London. All this news creates opportunity, when seeking rental apartments.
Factors exerting upward pressure on vacancy rates
The CMHC explained why it Ontario is experiencing these vacancies. “A number of factors exerted upward pressure on vacancy rates,” the CMHC explained. “Modest job growth, particularly in regions outside of northern and southwestern Ontario, dampened both ownership and rental demand since the fall of 2011.”
“Weaker job prospects discouraged some young Ontarians from leaving the parental home. Due to the high propensity to rent for this segment of the population, this had a dampening effect on demand for rental accommodation,” the CMHC added.
“Softer net migration to Ontario was a second factor dampening demand for rental accommodation.”
Ontario apartment rents grew at a slower rate this year versus the allowable Ontario rent review guideline amount of 3.1 per cent, according to the Housing agency. However, the story was mixed across the province.
Toronto has it—and the Maple Leafs are back!
Toronto may be expensive but like the L’Oreal commercial states, “it’s worth it.” The There is an extensive local, national and international transportation network, and many major attractions including the CN Tower, the Toronto International Film Festival, and the Eaton Centre as well as the playoff-bound Toronto Maple Leafs, Raptors, Blue Jays and Grey Cup-winning Argonauts in addition to museums, Greek Town and many other compelling destinations. In addition, there is a lively university community, with apartments for rent surrounding the several University of Toronto campuses, Ryerson and York Universities and Humber College in its Lakeshore and airport-area locations.
According to the Toronto Star, Apartment owners like CAPREIT, the largest private landlord in Toronto, Shiplake Management Co., Minto Properties and others are all now looking for ways to make older rentals more like “the new boys on the block — highrise condos that have redefined urban living, from their sleek granite countertops to their slick glass-enclosed gyms.”
A surge of new condos over the last five years that now account for 16 per cent of all the rental units in the region, the Star commented, noting that condo rents continue “to run about 40 per cent higher than apartment rents.”
“Somewhere in its DNA Toronto still thinks of itself as a small provincial town, where home ownership is right and renting is, well, something only poor people and students do. The frenzy has cranked that feeling up, making people who rent feel bad about their lot in life, when instead they should feel good, “ Shawn Micallef, the Star’s Living columnist recently wrote, in support of apartment rentals.
“Renting is freedom. You know how much you pay each month, and it goes up each year in predictable amounts, and then you have nothing else to worry about. If a tree falls on your place it isn’t your problem. You will not have to figure out how to pay for a new furnace or have a leaky-basement albatross around your ankles.”
Hamilton is underrated
RentersPages.com believes there are substantial opportunities for apartment rentals in Hamilton, with its notable post-secondary schools like McMaster, Everest and Mohawk Colleges and the Brock University of Faculty of Education.
In addition to Hamilton’s major metropolitan area, the nearby Niagara peninsula offers cultural, artistic and culinary attractions as well as fruit orchards, vineyards and wineries. It’s also the start of the Bruce Trail; the nearly 900K protected hiking area stretching to the top of Ontario.
With its Welland, Niagara Falls and Niagara on the Lake campuses, and Brock University in St. Catherines, all of which enroll more than 24,000 students, there are substantial opportunities for apartment rentals on RentersPages.com in Niagara Falls, Pelham, St. Catharines, Hamilton and Welland.
In Niagara Region the vacancy rate for two bedroom rental apartments is 4.2 per cent. The vacancy rate for three bedroom rental apartments is 4.3 per cent up from three per cent in the previous year. This is the proportion of rental apartments that are vacant and ready for move-in and is a higher number than the rest of Ontario, the CMHC stated.
Vacancy Rate and Availability
In Niagara Region the vacancy rate for two bedroom rental apartments is 4.2 per cent. The vacancy rate for three bedroom rental apartments is 4.3 per cent up from three per cent in the previous year. This is the proportion of rental apartments that are vacant and ready for move-in and is a higher number than the rest of Ontario.
Western Ontario’s Excitement
Heading West from Toronto, there is a long 401 corridor including Guelph, Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, London, Sarnia, Stratford and Windsor.
“In the longer term, population growth is the most important factor for housing,” the Kitchener-Waterloo Record reported that Erica McLerie, CMHC’s senior Kitchener market analyst, said. "It will be a very different community than it is today." More than 25,000 people will be added to the region in the next five years, she said. That translates into 13,000 new households. Many of these households will need apartment rentals.
Canada’s Capital -- healthy but slowing net migration
RentersPages.com believes that Ottawa apartment rentals are an outstanding value. There are so many things to do and see, as befits the National Capital. From fine restaurants to Parliament Hill to the Rideau Canal—and its skaters in the winter, Ottawa is the place to be. The ByWard market is great fun, and the many museums, including Nature, Civilization, Science and Technology, War, the National Gallery and the Mint, can’t be missed. There’s also the Jazz Festival, the Diefenbunker and Ottawa Senators hockey, now thankfully back on ice!
The Ottawa Citizen recently wrote that the capital “remains a tough place to find an apartment to rent, but not quite as tough as a year ago.” Still, “the capital city continues to have one of the lowest vacancy rates in the country,” senior CMHC market analyst Sandra Pérez-Torres told the Citizen.
Canada’s capital’s attraction to immigrants also supported rental apartment demand. Albeit moderating from the 2011 numbers, immigration has remained at a healthy level in Ottawa with immigrants “more likely to rent in the first four years since migration.” Increased numbers of rental accommodations outweighed the vigorous demand and pushed the vacancy rate upwards.
Furthermore, new Ottawa condominium rentals offer existing renters more choice at the higher end of the apartment rental market. As a result, primary rental- market occupancy rates at higher rent ranges fell this fall resulting in a more pronounced jump in vacancy rates at the higher end from this time last year.
RentersPages.com believes Ontario represents a great opportunity for its customers and that looking on the site is likely to find that perfect apartment for rent so go ahead and try.