Affordable housing shortage is making it difficult to find places to live.
It has been very challenging for renters in Toronto to find places to live over the first six months of this year. Some are saying that the vacancy rate is at an all-time low. Experts suggest that the current rate may now be under 1% which means that 99% of all the spaces available for rent are taken. This makes it very good for landlords but hard for people needing a place to live. I often tell my clients to completely set aside any concern they have about finding tenants, as there is always someone out there looking to rent, in all neighbourhoods of the city. The population of Toronto has increased dramatically over the past few years (mostly immigrants) and lots of people have to come into the city for work. The prices of Toronto real estate have by and large squeezed out the lowest tier of buyers and have effectively turned them into renters.
The prices of one and two-bedroom apartments have increased over the past several months as well, as the market adjusts to such a lack of supply. Most of the suites available are in condos, as apartments in duplexes and triplexes are
generally more desirable and there are fewer of them available. Most of the rental stats that we have available to us only come from the condo market as there is not a lot of data available on the suites in plexes or basements of houses.
Last year the City’s Public Housing Agency had 75 new spaces available to rent. They had 3779 people express interest so the chances of getting one of the spaces was almost 1 in 50. They ended up having a lottery to decide who would be awarded these apartments.
The City has been encouraging the development of purpose-built rental buildings to alleviate some of this pressure. The economics are usually better for a developer to build a condominium but there have been financial incentives provided to builders to provide more rental units. The plan to make more affordable housing in Toronto is a much-discussed topic, but it is difficult when there is such a high demand across the board for new places for people to live in.