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Rental site’s data show Toronto rents closing in on Vancouver’s

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Rental site Padmapper.com says that as 2017 ended, its data suggest Toronto's average one-bedroom apartment rent was close to drawing even with Vancouver rates.

The site reported that, in December, the average new rental listing prices for one-bedroom units in Vancouver was $1,990, down 4.3 per cent from the month previous. Toronto's average one-bedroom price was $1,970 (up 2.6 per cent).

Those figures differ from other recent data sources and may not accurately capture cost of renting in either city, because Padmapper just calculates its own current listings and doesn't survey the entire rental market. For example, in Toronto it currently has 5,346 condos, houses and apartments listed; of those, 2,903 were one-bedroom apartments. In Vancouver, it has 1,420 current listings for all types, and 793 one-bedroom ads.

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Padmapper's numbers also mash together rented condominium units, sub-units in low-rise housing stock and purpose-built units in rental apartment blocks. It's also likely the makeup of its listings is skewed toward the tech-friendly and may not include a representative share of the city's older units.

According to Urbanation Inc., which focuses on the condominium portion of the rental market in Toronto, the pricing for those categories is quite different.

Urbanation doesn't cover Vancouver's market, but in October, 2017, it reported that condo apartment rental transactions recorded in Toronto by the MLS system saw a year-over-year jump of 10.3 per cent in the third quarter of 2017, reaching an average rent of $2,219 for all unit types, and $1,839 for one-bedroom units (up 9.7 per cent). Padmapper's one-month sample may also be slightly skewed: "The rental market is influenced by seasonal factors as well, and it is not uncommon to see average rents decline slightly on a monthly basis during the last couple months of the year, following the very busy late summer/early fall period," says Shaun Hildebrand, senior vice-president with Urbanation.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. publishes rental market surveys that collect far more data about the existing market. In its third-quarter report, it said that, as of October, 2017, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the City of Vancouver was $1,223 (up 5.5 per cent from 2016). Across the city, average rent on all types of homes increased 5.9 per cent – the third year that rents grew faster than the provincially allowable 3.7-per-cent increase.

The CMHC data do show the average rent in Toronto is nipping at Vancouver's heels: The CMHC figures for a one-bedroom unit's average rent is $1,202 (up 5.7 per cent from 2016). The city-wide average for all bedroom types is $1,308 (up 5.8 per cent).

Looking specifically at one-bedroom condos, CMHC data for October shows the average rent in Vancouver at $1,692 (up 4.1 per cent from 2016.) Toronto came in at $1,847 (up 8.3 per cent from 2016), but for the core downtown area, it was $2,019 (up 8.5 per cent).

Toronto also has many more – and rents a larger share of – condo units: Of the city's 384,481 units in 2017, 32.7 per cent (125,801) are rented out.

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The CMHC estimates there are 232,638 condominium units in the Vancouver area, 59,930 are rental units, or 25.8 per cent.

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