Canadian Cities With the Cheapest Rents for Newcomers

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Newcomers to Canada and international students face an array of challenges when deciding which Canadian city they want to call home.

Getting a job is, of course, a key goal, but finding affordable rental housing is equally important. 

Rents across Canada are on the rise, particularly in the gateway cities (Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary) that are popular with immigrants and those studying abroad.

Meeting the rental demand

Canada plans to welcome 1.3 million newcomers over three years (while clearing an estimated backlog of over 2.4 million already approved newcomers) so the demand for rental housing will only grow, and questions persist about this country's ability to meet that demand. 

Add to that, about 270,000 international students are expected to arrive in Canada between now and September.

Where should they live? How much will they pay?

Well,  according to a June report by rental website Zumper, there are some cheap rent prices to be found in certain Canadian cities. Four of them in fact. Here they are:

1 - St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador

St. John's, the capital of Newfoundland & Labrador is Canada's least expensive rental city, according to Zumper.

An average one-bedroom goes for $800 while a two-bedroom (popular with newcomers) goes for $950 per month.  That's a zero percent change year-over-year. 

2 - Edmonton, Alberta

The capital city of the province known for oil and gas is second-cheapest.  A one-bedroom in Edmonton rents for $950 per month and a two-bedroom for $1,220.

With Alberta's economy on the rebound and rise, rent prices are going up with average rates of 2.2 percent and 3.4 percent respectively over the last 12 months. That's a trend that's expected to continue in the city that's home to Edmonton Oiler hockey superstar Connor McDavid.

3 - Regina, Saskatchewan

A one-bedroom goes for $950 a month in Regina, the second-largest city in the heartland of the Prairies. That's a substantial 9.2 percent increase from last year. A two-bed costs $1,130 which is a 5.6 percent jump.

University of Saskatchewan students in Saskatoon enjoy some of Canada's cheapest rent prices

4 - Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

The province's largest city, home to the University of Saskatchewan, sees a one-bedroom apartment renting for $990, just under $1,000 a month.

Located on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River, Saskatoon is a multicultural city affectionately known as the City of Bridges. 

And, as in Regina, rent prices in Saskatoon are rising (6.5 percent for both one and two-bedroom apartments year-over-year). A two-bedroom goes for $1,140 on average a month.

Quebec City is in the fifth spot 

As for No. 5, that would be Quebec city at $1,000 for a one-bedroom, followed by Winnipeg at $1,090. You can see the full report here

Rental experts agree that Canada's ambitious immigration targets coupled with the flow of refugees from Ukraine and Afghanistan will have an impact on rental markets where prices are already nearing pre-pandemic levels.

So, finding a place to rent, whether in a cheap or more expensive city, will only become harder, experts warn.

“Demand for rental accommodation is expected to remain strong this year and beyond, as job growth continues, immigration and non-permanent migration continues to support housing demand, and higher borrowing costs see some young people put their decision to purchase a home on hold,” said Jason Mercer, the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board's (TRREB) chief market analyst, 

And as for the top three, most expensive places to rent:  Burnaby at $1,960 a month, Toronto at $2,000 a month, and Vancouver at $2,240 a month. 

 

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