In areas with a strong economy, such as the Western provinces, there has been an increase in demand for rental properties, which in turn drives up prices. Additionally, areas with a large student population, such as college towns, can also experience a surge in rental prices during the academic year as students return to campus.
The stable youth employment and an increase in net migration have also contributed to the increase in demand for rental properties, as young people and new immigrants often choose to rent instead of buying.
The high interest rates have made it difficult for would-be homeowners to purchase property, leading them to rent instead, further driving up demand in the rental market.
Therefore, while Toronto and Vancouver receive much of the attention for their high rental prices, it is a problem that is affecting cities and regions across the country in different ways, depending on local economic conditions and demographics.
The rental market in Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo has been tight for several years, with a vacancy rate of around 2%. In 2022, it dipped further to 1.2%, which is the lowest rate in two decades. The return of students to campus after remote learning during the pandemic has been a driving force behind the tight rental market, as has the growth of employment in the high-tech sector and the increase in permanent resident admissions.
The average price for a two-bedroom rental in the region has increased by more than 7%, faster than nearby markets such as Toronto, Guelph, and London. The rise in rental prices and the tight rental market have made it difficult for students to find affordable housing, and many are now commuting from outside the region, couch surfing, or living with multiple roommates in the same room. The situation has also increased the risk of rental scams. The president of the students’ union, Sana Banu, says that there is not enough supply to meet the current demand in the region.