Neighbourhoods close to the downtown Toronto core came with the priciest monthly rents in December.

According to the latest Bullpen Research & Consulting and Toronto GTA Rent Report, seven Toronto neighbourhoods stood out as having the highest average monthly rents in the GTA for condominium rentals and apartments in December. 

These neighbourhoods include the Waterfront Communities -- The Island ($2,532), Niagara ($2528), Kensington-Chinatown ($2,359), Trinity-Bellwoods ($2345), Palmerston-Little Italy ($2332), and the Church-Yonge Corridor ($2,290). The Bay Street Corridor tops the list of the GTA's most expensive spot to rent a condo or apartment, with an average monthly rent at $2,608. 

On the other end of the spectrum, Cabbagetown-South St. James and South Parkdale had the lowest average monthly rents, at $1,722 and $1,772, respectively. 

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The report found that the average asking rent for all property types in the GTA in December was $2,150, down by 0.8% from November.

Pandemic-Era Rent Discounts a Thing of the Past

Despite December’s price dip, the reality remains the same no matter the neighbourhood: rents across the city will soon return to their pre-pandemic prices, according to the report's author, and other industry experts. 

“Rapid resale price growth and anticipated interest rate hikes will likely continue to fuel tenant demand, with the expectation that rents will surpass their late-2019 peak levels by the end of 2022,” says Ben Myers, President of Bullpen Research and Consulting. 

Average rents had increased for eight consecutive months starting in April before the December dip, highlights the report. Before that, average rents declined every month between December 2019 and March 2021 -- a byproduct of the pandemic -- with the average rent in the GTA going from a high of $2,461 in November 2019 to a low of $1,975 in March 2021, a drop of $486. December’s $2,150 average rent is 13% lower than the November 2019 high of $2,461. 

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Further from the concrete of the Toronto core, the average rent for condo rentals in North York was up 14.5% after being down 18.3% a year earlier; Etobicoke was up 17.7% after being down 15.5%; Scarborough was up 14.0% after being down 9.1%; Mississauga was up 16.7% after being down 10.2%; and Brampton was up 5.6% after being down 18.3%. 

While GTA rents are still not back to their pre-pandemic levels, they are set to rise with the return of the physical office and widespread immigration. With all signs looking like Toronto is emerging from lockdown for the last time (but who knows these days), for those in the market, the time to score a rental is probably now.

Tellingly, the number of page views on in December increased year over year for most of the municipalities in the GTA. This is likely fuelled by the re-opening of the economy and the working public slowly returning to the office, says Meyers. 

Judging from the sudden rent spike last summer once restrictions lifted, rents could return to sky-high heights before masks and social distancing become things of the past.

Real Estate News