Toronto Star Article: “Toronto’s Rents Were Supposed To Drop”

Recently the Toronto Star published (on March 21, 2021) a long article examining vacancy rates and average rents across the city of Toronto. You can read the article via the link below (the article might be behind a paywall).

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2021/03/20/toronto-rents-were-supposed-to-drop-as-people-fled-the-city-during-covid-19-the-data-tells-a-much-different-story.html

This article uses data gathered by CMHC and explains that in most neighbourhoods in Toronto average rents increased from 2019 to 2020, even as vacancies increased. In other words, contrary to rumours, Toronto landlords did not react to increased vacancies by softening rents, but instead took the opportunity offered by increased unit turnover to boost rents to market levels. This should come as no surprise since, as I’ve mentioned in past posts, landlords whose units are under rent controls must take advantage of every unit turnover to maximize rent increases, because once a new tenant is in place rent increases are restricted until that new tenant leaves.

On a side note, I’m pleased to see the article makes it clear the discussion is about purpose-built rentals, not condo-rentals (aka non-purpose-built rentals), a distinction I’ve been fussing about for many years, but especially since the CBC’s failure to make that distinction in its reporting about condo-rentals in downtown Toronto led to the Wynn government’s expansion of rent controls a few years back (much of it reversed by the Ford government).