Toronto rent dropped by 22 per cent downtown in July: report

The shift to working from home is having an impact on the rental market


Toronto rent is way down in the downtown area, according to a July 2020 report from Rentals.ca.

The average price for condominium apartments in the M5H area listed on the site is $2,444. That’s down 22.2 per cent year-over year.

The report, prepared by Ben Myers, chalks up the steep decline to the impact COVID-19 has had on lifestyle changes: People now work from home. Proximity to work is no longer worth prices that reach as high as downtown’s towers.

The M5H area, which includes the financial district, suffered the steepest price decline, followed by the south core M5E area, which dropped 16.8 per cent. The M5A area, stretching from St. Lawrence Market to Regent Park, dropped 12.8 per cent. The M5V area, including the fashion and entertainment district, dropped 11 per cent.

According to Rentals.ca, downtown condo rents peaked at $2,740 in August 2019. The current average fell 16 per cent to $2,302.

Toronto rent beyond downtown

The average price is down for Toronto rental listings overall. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment listing on Rentals.ca landed at $2,063. That’s a 9.3 per cent decline year-over-year; but only a 1.9 per cent drop since June.

According to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB), rental listings during the COVID-19 pandemic were up 42 per cent year-over-year. Meanwhile, rentals were down 24.8 per cent.

According to Rentals.ca, the average price for a two-bedroom apartment in Toronto went up 1.3 per cent since June to $2,684.

CMHC invests in affordable housing

The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t made finding affordable housing much easier, particularly for families.

On Friday, the Canada Mortgage And Housing Corporation (CMHC) announced a $73 million investment from the federal government to construct 233 residential rental homes at 5465 Dundas Street West. The units are part of a new mixed-use retail and condo development from Concert Properties called The Kip District. There will be 50 units rented at below market rates. Another 20 rents will be guaranteed at 30 per cent of median household income or less.

“Canada’s middle class and those looking to join them will benefit from the construction of new rental housing that includes 70 affordable units,” Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Ahmed Hussen, said in a statement.

On top of the federal funding, Concert Properties is also receiving $5.5 million in capital grants from the City Of Toronto’s Open Door Affordable Housing program. The city is also providing approximately $2.1 million in financial incentives like exemptions from development fees and property taxes.

Earlier this month, the CMHC announced a $276 million financial commitment to affordable housing in Peel from the federal government. The funds, delivered through the National Housing Co-Investment Fund (NHCF), will contribute toward building 2,240 affordable rental units and shelter beds in Peel over the next eight years.

The CMHC also announced $79 million in financing to construct 216 residential units in Newmarket. That funding will come from the CMHC’s Rental Construction Financing initiative (RCFi). It will go towards the construction of 216 residential units at 195 Deerfield Road in Newmarket. However, these units won’t be affordable housing. They will be priced for middle-class families, according to the CMHC, which says the Newmarket units provide “more stable rental housing options.”

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