Navigating Around the Expensive Rent in Toronto
Toronto has quite a sticky—and legitimate—reputation of having the most expensive rent and housing market in the country. In fact, PadMapper.com reported that, as of August 2018, the average rent for a one bedroom apartment stood at $2,140.00—the highest among all Canadian cities. If anything, we are at least in second place to also-infamous Vancouver when it comes to two bedroom apartment, hovering at $2,800.00.
In an ongoing poll asking what Toronto’s most pressing issue is, over 65% responded that it was the city’s affordability. This hasn’t gone unnoticed among the higher rungs of municipal society; Mayor Tory has publicly issued his plans to address this problem in his mayoral platform, as the first among other major issues.
While things may not be likely to change anytime soon, there are measures we can use to get the most of this overvalued market:
First, try locations outside downtown or major transit arteries. Always start with the expectation that more accessible locations, particularly ones near major employment areas, and near subway stations and major bus routes, will be more expensive. Searching for something more off-the-path may cut down rent prices.
Second, look at older buildings. For obvious reasons, these apartments will probably have cheaper rates compared to those new high-rise, glass buildings. More than that however, they were probably built before 1991, meaning that their rent prices have been long under Ontario’s rent control regulations (amended in 2017 to now include most private rental units in the province). Landlords for these buildings are also likely to be “career landlords”, meaning they are actively involved in maintaining the property, as it is their livelihood.
Third, widen your search network. Indeed, Kijiji, and Craigslist are great places to start (and maybe even end) your search, but there are tons more websites and resources out there to help you out. ViewIt, Realtor.ca, Condos.ca, Apartmate, and Nice Place Toronto are also very useful sites to check out—some of them are pretty organised which can lighten your workload. There’s also Bunz Home Zone on Facebook where individuals post locations up for rent or purchase. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask around. Your new friend might actually be an experienced renter, a realtor, or even just know someone renting out a place for cheap.
Finally, the other stuff. Don’t seek too many amenities—separate your wants and your needs. Find roommates to help lesses your rent and utilities’ costs. Budget to accommodate your other living expenses. Find better-paying jobs to compensate for the range of prices in market.
That being said, always make sure to account for your own safety and time. At the end of it, we can only hope that prices will drop, or at least stabilize, in the years to come.