The housing market

Finding a place to live in Canada

The housing market

In Canada the strong demand for housing and increasing house prices are driven by low interest rates, tight rental and real estate markets and strong economic foundations

Although the housing market in Canada has not been immune to the recent economic conditions, there is still a strong demand and house prices have gone up. This is due to the low supply of real estate in some parts of Canada. Low vacancy rates, together with the current high demand for rental properties are encouraging first time buyers into the real estate market. Historically low interest rates for mortgage-type borrowing have also influenced people to move from renting to owning houses.

Rental properties are currently at high demand in Canada. After a few years of decline, and therefore, shortage of rental properties, the current rental market has now an increasing supply of vacant residential rental properties (approximately 2.7%). Fortunately this makes the search for an available rental property a little less difficult.   

Toronto is probably among the top three destinations for expats interested in living in Canada and thats why some of this section focuses on Toronto.  If your chosen Canadian destination is different, you will still find many of your questions answered here.

In addition to other large Canadian cities, such as Vancouver and Montreal, Toronto is where a large number of students arrive from many countries in the world in order to develop, improve or perfect their knowledge of the English language.

The housing market in the rest of the major cities in Canada including Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary and Halifax is similar to Toronto. However, the main difference is the price levels for purchasing property (real estate). See listing below for the average price of a standard two-storey house in major Canadian cities.


According to economics the current high house prices in Canada are because of a shortage of supply in some cities. Average prices for a standard two-storey house by City/Region (CAD$) - Source: RBC – Economics Q4 2013

  • Canada: $425,800
  • Toronto: $662,500
  • Ottawa: $403,900
  • Vancouver: $845,600
  • Montreal: $399,300
  • Calgary: $461,100

In most cases, for Toronto and other major Canadian cities, the closer you are to the city center, the higher the rent will be. The average monthly rent across Canada’s 35 major centres is:

  • Approximately C$827/month for a one-bedroom apartment (between $500 and $1,200 depending on the proximity to city center and the amenities included)
  • Around C$920/month for a 2-bedroom apartment (between $800 and $1,500 depending on the proximity to city center).

There is also a small supply of luxury apartments priced up to several thousand dollars a month.

Where to look

There are many different sources of information when looking for an apartment or a house to rent:

  • Our Just Landed housing classifieds
  • Online housing websites
  • Personal contacts (family, friends, etc.)
  • Management offices of rental properties (buildings, co-operative housing, etc.)
  • Government offices
  • Real estate agencies (note: most sell property rather than rent)

Further reading

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