Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rental Apartments

I'm always looking at rental apartment listings and I'm noticing a large decrease in the number of listings on the popular services. Although I've seen this kind of decrease before, it's never been to the point where there's only one or even zero new listing per day.

Toronto is always chronically short on apartments. Most of Toronto's apartment buildings were built in the 1970s. In the 1990s the rental laws were relaxed to encourage the private sector to build new rental accommodation. The idea was doomed to failure as the private sector is only interested in building condominiums. So the apartment shortage worsened while rents sky rocketed.

Aside from the apartment shortage, there are other factors at work. There is a worry the Canadian housing market is a bubble the could burst at any time. Sensible people naturally avoid buying in such a market and continue to rent, which reduces apartment availability. One source of temporary rental accommodation is the basement apartment, but the rising cost of utilities is a major disincentive for home owners to build basement apartments.

It's not a good time to be looking for an apartment.

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