While the federal government has not specified how soon the borders could reopen, real estate agents predict that there will be higher rental prices and fewer properties to choose from when immigrants and students return to Canada. and look for a place to live.
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“My advice to all tenants I know is to come in now,” said Terry Parkinson, an agent for Royal LePage Signature Realty in Toronto.
“Get a rental now before the border opens because you’re going to have tons of competition. “
The advice from Parkinson’s agents and other agents comes as many of Canada’s most popular rental markets approach pre-pandemic conditions as more businesses are allowed to reopen.
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At the height of the health crisis, rent prices fell as young Canadians returned to live with their families, took advantage of falling interest rates by buying a home, or sought accommodation further away from a family. big city because their employer allowed them to work remotely.
But as many businesses welcome their customers again and businesses begin to plan for a return to their offices, prices start to rise.
While rents in many areas are still significantly down from last year’s rates, Rentals.ca data released in June shows prices are on the rise again.
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The average monthly price of a one-bedroom rental increased 2.4% in Vancouver to $ 1,981, nearly 1% in Toronto to $ 1,833, 2.5% in Hamilton to $ 1,440 and 4.2% in St. John’s, Newfoundland, at $ 894.
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It won’t just be about raising the prices Canadians face once people can re-enter the country, real estate agents said.
Competition will also be back because people will move to the countryside or downtown areas at the start of the school year, they said.
“And there are already not enough products on the market. There is a real shortage when it comes to affordability, ”said Bonnie Meisels, agent at Keller Williams Urbain in Montreal.
“The way things are going, things will only continue to increase. “
Meisels is particularly concerned about the difficulties students will have when navigating the market, and has told those she knows with semesters starting later in the fall to start their research now.
“Often they don’t work and have limited budgets, so it’s not easy for them to find good accommodation,” she said.
Many will also not be able to secure a place in school residences this year. Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, for example, said on its website that it informed students in June that it would reduce its residency spaces to 1,800 from 2,300 this year to curb the spread of COVID- 19.
The market has always seen students looking for housing while they finish their studies, but the new policies of these universities have created an even greater demand for rentals, said Ben Young, senior vice president of development at Southwest Properties at Halifax.
In addition to this demand, the region is also seeing more interest from people who flocked to the east coast when they could work from anywhere during the pandemic.
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” It’s tight. Vacancy rates have been historically low in Halifax for the past few years before COVID, ”Young said.
“The city itself has probably been the best kept secret, but it’s no longer a best kept secret. “
Young doesn’t anticipate an increase in inventory in the near future, so he advises potential tenants to plan ahead, do their research, and be aware that finding accommodation can take time.
“Don’t think you’re going to come down and then in two or three weeks you are going to be able to find something. I think you are putting yourself in a difficult position if you do that, ”he said.
“You’ll probably find something, but give yourself plenty of time. “