Condo-Rental Listings Jump 132% in Urban Exodus From Toronto

The number of condominiums put up for rent in Toronto more than doubled in the fourth quarter compared with a year earlier, a sign of a growing exodus of people from the city’s downtown to more spacious accommodations in the suburbs.

The 132% surge in supply sent rents tumbling in Canada’s financial capital, one of the country’s priciest cities for housing. The average rent for a one-bedroom condo fell almost 17% from a year earlier to C$1,845 ($1,453), while costs for a two-bedroom unit dropped about 15% to C$2,453, according to data released Wednesday from the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board.

“Growth in the number of available units far outstripped growth in rental transactions,” Lisa Patel, president of the TRREB, said in the report. “The result was much more choice and negotiating power for renters and a downward adjustment in average rents.”

The coronavirus pandemic has spurred an outflow of people from Canada’s largest cities as many professionals work remotely and lockdowns displace service-industry employees. The shift from urban centers has been particularly pronounced among the younger demographic that’s typically most drawn to the hip downtown neighborhoods where condo towers cluster.

In Toronto, which recently reimposed stringent lockdown measures to control surging Covid-19 cases, supply is surging after a multidecade condo-building boom. Thousands of mom and pop investors who bought units to rent them out now face the prospect of losing money on their investment each month.

The number of condos listed for sale more than doubled in the final three months of last year from the same period in 2019, TRREB data show. The average selling price declined 1.1% in the metropolitan area to C$610,044, and fell 2.4% to C$644,516 in Toronto’s historic core.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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