There seems to be some semblance of relief for those that are paycheques deep in the country’s sweltering rental markets. Canadian rents appreciated just 6.5% year over year in May, according to a new national rent report, marking the slowest rate of annual rent appreciation since December 2021, or in 17 months.

Still, the national average, which clocked in at a still-lofty $2,014 last month, grew 0.6% between April to May and was up 19% over the past two years.

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Alberta became the “provincial leader for annual rent growth” in May -- overtaking Ontario, which snagged the title in last month’s report -- with averaging asking rents for purpose-built and condominium apartments jumping 13.4% year over year to $1,521. Even so, rents in Alberta were still 22% below the national average.

Ontario trailed not far behind, seeing an annual rise of 12.4% to an average of $2,409. However, it still costs 58% more, on average, to rent in Ontario over Alberta.

BC continues to be the most expensive province for renters -- however, its annual rate of rent growth slowed to 5.2% in May. Still, the average rent for purpose-built and condo apartments, at $2,468, comes in 62% higher than Alberta’s average.

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Of Canada’s largest markets, Toronto saw the steepest rate of annual rent inflation in May, taking the title from Calgary and observing a rise of 15.5% to $2,808. Meanwhile, Calgary rents jumped 14.6% year over year to an average of $1,944 for purpose-built and condo apartments. That dollar amount comes in 31% lower than Toronto.

On par with the trends observed in the province at large, Vancouver -- which remains the most expensive of Canada’s largest cities with average rents of $3,137 for purpose-built and condo apartments in May -- saw the sleepiest rate of annual rent growth, at 9.7%.

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As was the case last month, Canada’s most expensive mid-sized markets remained in Ontario and BC, with Oakville taking the lead once again, followed by three suburbs of Vancouver: Burnaby, Coquitlam, and Richmond. Toronto suburbs accounted for the rest of the top 14 most expensive mid-sized cities.

In terms of rent growth, Scarborough continued to be Canada’s fastest appreciating mid-sized rental market -- a trend linked in past reports to its popularity amongst newcomers to Canada -- with rents jumping 29.1% year over year in May to an average of $2,536. Brampton dropped down to third place, with rents appreciating 23.4% year over year last month. Brampton (up 23%), North York (up 22%), Guelph (up 19%), Markham (up 18%), Hamilton (up 16%), and Vaughan (up 15%) also made that same list.

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Supplied by and Urbanation, the report cautions readers to manage expectations, saying that “further upward pressure on rents” is likely in the coming months.

“The rental market is expected to heat up further as it enters the seasonal peak for demand during the summer months, driven primarily by an incoming surge in international students and continued deterioration in homeownership affordability as interest rates move higher again,” says Urbanation President, Shaun Hildebrand.

To a similar tune, Matt Danison, CEO of the Network, says that Canadian markets are facing unique and mounting pressures that are unlikely to relent any time soon, emphasizing that interest rates are now at a 22-year high. Meanwhile, home prices continue to rise.

“Gen Z could become the 'Boomerang Generation' moving back in with the parents or the 'Roommate Generation' splitting rent as it's unaffordable for many Canadians to pay rent on their own.”