REMI Magazine - Canadian Apartment

New rental data for October 2020 shows that average rents are down in most large metros, particularly for smaller luxury units located in busy downtown neighbourhhoods.

In Toronto, rents have declined 17 per cent for a one-bedroom home and 14 per cent for a two-bedroom home; in Montreal, however, rents are up 15 per cent for a one-bedroom and 9 per cent for a two-bedroom.

In Toronto, rents have declined 17 per cent for a one-bedroom home and 14 per cent for a two-bedroom

Trending since the pandemic began in March, tenants have been seeking out rental units close to grocery stores and parks, as opposed to busy high density neighbourhoods close to office towers.

The average rent for all Canadian properties in October 2020 increased slightly over September (0.7 per cent)  to $1,782, after four months of almost no change, according to the latest data from and Bullpen Research & Consulting. Year over year, the average rent for all property types listed on is still down but improving.

“The average rent in Canada trended up in October, which we partially attribute to an increase in new purpose-built rental apartment listings,” said Matt Danison, CEO of “We continue to see an increase in listings nationally, which tells us that supply is outpacing demand. This market imbalance suggests soft rental market conditions will continue for the rest of the year.”


North York finished first among 35 cities for highest average monthly rent in October 2020, surpassing both Toronto and Vancouver due to a number of new purpose-built apartments beginning pre-leasing programs, which pulled the average up. Month over month, average rent for a one-bedroom in North York was up 7 per cent ($1,945) and 12.4 per cent ($2,459) for a two-bedroom.

Mississauga finished fourth on the list for average monthly rent for a one-bedroom home ($1,877) and seventh for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom ($2,150). Year over year, rents are down for both unit sizes in Mississauga, at 5.6 per cent and 10.2 per cent respectively.

Etobicoke finished fifth for average monthly rent for a one-bedroom ($1,861) and fourth for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom ($2,306). Year over year, average monthly rent was down 9.1 per cent for a one-bedroom and 8.9 per cent for a two-bedroom.


As several of Canada’s major cities continue to see declining rental rates, many secondary markets are seeing rents increase. Demand is down and supply is up overall, but demand is shifting geographically.

Data backs up the “Urban Exodus” theory in Ontario, with average rents declining in places like North York, Etobicoke, Toronto and East York, while cities such as Kitchener, Hamilton and London are still seeing double-digit rent growth with annual increases of 14 per cent, 15 per cent and 17 per cent respectively.

As more tenants work from home, less expensive units in smaller communities are drawing attention. Municipalities in Ontario with the biggest growth in pageviews on are: Kingston, Guelph, Windsor, Barrie, Cambridge, Whitby, Brantford, Hamilton, Burlington and Woodstock.

“The rising rents in several smaller municipalities, as well as the significant increase in web traffic on in Ontario suggests many prospective tenants are widening their search area when looking for a rental property,” said Ben Myers, president of Bullpen Research & Consulting, “With many choosing to go back to where they grew up or attended university to avoid the lofty Toronto area rental rates.”





We here at The Apartment Group track sales from various sources to keep on top of current market values and trends.  Covid has affected all sectors of the real estate market and there are many Buyers out there "looking for deals" and the apartment Buyer is no different.  We all know the hotel sector has been hit hard and so has the retail space.  Office too will see things change as we come out of this and more people keep working from home.  More recently many investors were looking at the apartment market and wondering where the deals are as rents are softening and vacancy is moving up.  As I have always said the truth is in the numbers and the data - not conjecture.

We will compare 2019 to 2020 but first off we would like to street that 2019 was a record breaking year in terms of volume and pricing.  Q1 2020 started off with a bang and a continuation of the 2019 demand trend.  In the GTA there were 20 deals with 1,653 suites changing hands and a total dollar sales volume of around $479MM.  This is in comparison to 15 deals and a volume of around $300MM (1,100 suites sold) in 2019.  Things would change in Q2 2020.

Q2 2019 recorded 37 sales and over 3,080 suites sold with a sales volume of just over $810MM.  In Q2 2020 with the arrival of Covid, there were only 15 deals done on 857 suites and a sales volume of just over $235MM.  This is over a 70% decline in volume from Q2 2019 and almost a 50% decline from Q1 2020.  Even compared to other Q2's in the past sales volumes in 2020 are down 30-50%.

Q3 2020 saw a return of Buyers and confidence to the market.  Here there were 23 sales totaling 1,640 suites with a sales dollar volume of around $470MM.  This is a complete reversal from Q2 2020.  In Q3 2019 there were 20 sales totaling 1,238 suites with a sales dollar volume of around $350MM.  Our current activity in the fourth quarter of 2020 shows volumes and deal flow to be strong as well and the year will end on a positive note but overall deal flow and volumes will be around 50% below 2019 overall.

The above has illustrated that Covid definitely has had a negative impact in 2020 on deal flow and sales volumes.  It appear to us that demand did pull back especially between March and June.   Banks too were changing and making lending criteria much more difficult which killed some deals and reduce demand as Buyers took a wait and see attitude.  But what about pricing??

For the first three quarters of 2020 the data indicated an average price per suite of around $285,500 and a cap rate of 3.5%.  Compared with 2019 where the price per suite on average was around $268,500 and the average cap rate was 3.7%.  Despite Covid values for apartments continue to rise.  One reason is that there historically and traditionally have been more Buyers than Sellers in the market.  Secondly, although rents have soften recently there still are large gaps to market rents in many buildings.  Thirdly, long term bond rates have come down over 1% since last year greatly lowering borrowing costs.  Finally, the stability of income in this asset class has only been enhanced during the pandemic.


Employment increased by 84,000 (+0.5%) in October, after growing by an average of 2.7% per month since May. The unemployment rate was 8.9%, little changed from September.  Employment increases in several industries were partially offset by a decrease of 48,000 in the accommodation and food services industry, largely in Quebec.

In April, the number of workers directly affected by the COVID-19 economic shutdown peaked at 5.5 million, including a 3.0 million drop in employment and a 2.5 million increase in absences from work. By October, the equivalent figure was 1.1 million, including a drop of 636,000 (-3.3%) in employment and an increase of 433,000 (+53.7%) in the number of Canadians who were employed but working less than half their usual hours.

Most of the employment increase in October was in full-time work (+69,000; +0.5%) and the number of people working part time was virtually unchanged. On a year-over-year basis, full-time employment was down 3.1%, compared with a decrease of 3.4% for part-time work.

More than one in five part-time workers (23.0%; 826,000) wanted full-time work but were unable to find it, up 5.6 percentage points from 12 months earlier (not seasonally adjusted). The year-over-year increase in the proportion of part-time workers who were doing so involuntarily was highest among men aged 25 to 54 (up 13.3 percentage points to 46.0%) (not seasonally adjusted). By industry, the largest year-over-year increases were in construction; finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing; and 'other services.

Among those who worked at least half their usual hours, the number of Canadians working from home increased by approximately 150,000 in October, while the number working at locations other than home was little changed. Working from home continues to be an important adaptation to COVID-19 health risks, with 2.4 million Canadians who do not normally work from home doing so in October.

The unemployment rate was 8.9% in October, little changed from September. The number of unemployed Canadians (1.8 million) held steady in the month and was up 683,000 (+60.2%) from pre-COVID February levels.  In addition to the unemployed, 540,000 Canadians wanted to work in October but did not search for a job, down 39,000 from September and continuing a downward trend from a peak of 1.5 million in April. If people in this group were included as unemployed, the adjusted unemployment rate in October would be 11.3%.


1130 Queens Avenue – Oakville – SOLD $46,100,000 / $430,840 per suite / 3.0% Cap Rate

This sale consists of 107 rental apartment suites owned by a private investor in prime Oakville.  The building was built in the 1970's to condo quality and was a luxurious rental building at that time with indoor pool, saunas and showers on a ravine setting.  The building was in good condition for its age and had a gym and larger suites at over 1,000 sf on average.  The rents here were extremely low and the owner purposely kept 15 suites empty so the Buyer could immediately realize gap to market.  This property was marketed and sold by The Apartment Group with multiple offers including new out of province and many non traditional apartment investors.  The Buyer was Homestead Land Holdings who purchased the deal on an unconditional basis.

1436-1494 Avenue Road – Toronto – SOLD $42,730,000 / $449,770 per suite / 2.34% Cap Rate

This sale comprise a bunch of walk up rental apartments (19 five plexes) on over 2 acres in two blocks just south of Lawrence Avenue West.  The buildings dated from the 1950's and was in the Seller's ownership for many years.  The buildings were in poor condition for their age with many units vacant and capital work needed on them.  There are 19 one bedrooms and 76 two bedrooms.  The asset was not fully marketed and sold direct to a private group.  This deal is reflective of land value and the Buyer intends to redevelopment the property at some point in time.

1911 Bayview Avenue – East York – SOLD $9,650,000 / $438,635 per suite / 3.0% Cap Rate

This sale consists of 22 rental apartment suites owned by a private investor located north of Eglinton Avenue East. The building contains 8 bachelors, 10 one bedrooms and 4 two bedrooms.  This is a classic 1950's concrete building with brick exterior and flat roof and balconies.  The structures were considered to be in average condition for their age and there is on site parking.  This property was fully marketed and sold to Greenhawk Group.

122 Bronte Street South – Milton – SOLD $58,500,000 / $358,900 per suite / 3.5% Cap Rate

This is a large 2.73 acre site improved with a two mid rise rental apartment buildings containing a total of 163 suites.  It is a concrete structure with elevators, underground parking, balconies and flat roof.  There are one bachelor suites, 81 one bedrooms and 81 two bedrooms.  Known as Glen Eden Court the buildings were in good condition for there age with rents below market. The asset was fully marketed and was purchased by a private investment company.


Together the team has completed over 1,000 transactions and has sold over $5 billion in apartments and development land. Put us to work for you and see the results. NO ONE has sold more buildings then our group. Experience, knowledge and professionalism will insure you get the right deal or the highest price if you are selling.

The Apartment Group is a dedicated team of professionals specializing in the sale of multi-residential investment properties. With over 40 years of combined experience, the team brings together their strengths including strong negotiation and sales skills along with highly technical market analysis and appraisal methods.

We are a boutique Brokerage but have the capabilities of the larger houses without the overhead. We have: an internal database of over 10,500 active apartment and land Buyers; a list of all apartment building owners in the Greater Toronto Area; our web site gets over 50,000 hits a month; we highlight properties for sale through our newsletter which reaches 10,000 investors monthly.


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