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From 10% rent drops in Montreal, to $7-psf Toronto apartments, here’s how Canada’s rental market looked in January 2019

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Photo: Kurt Bauschardt/Flickr

What a difference location can make in terms of rents.

Look no further than the January 2019 rent report from rental-listing website Rentals.ca.

According to the report, one bedroom apartments in Montreal are going for $1,081, down 16 percent from a year ago; meantime, the average rent per square foot in Toronto’s Entertainment District was an eye-popping $7 per square foot.

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These strikingly disparate numbers might not be what they seem, though, suggests Ben Myers, the report’s author and president of Bullpen Consulting, which advises real estate developers.

In the case of Montreal, it may just be a matter of the types of listings that were included. Myers has made an effort to remove furnished and short-term rentals from the data. But with roughly 10,000 listings to pore over, it’s possible some of those squeaked through in previous months, inflating the older data. It’s also possible a number of listings from a large landlord with property on the outskirts of the city were added.

For the off-the-charts rents in the Entertainment District, Myers has another explanation. “It was recently reported that a significant number of units, specifically this high-tourist area, are being listed on Airbnb, reducing the potential stock of rental units and putting further upward pressure on rental rates,” he writes in the report.







On a national level, renting got more expensive for prospective tenants this month, though as expected, prices varied considerably from market to market. Landlords across Canada were asking an average of $1,776 per month in rent for properties on Rentals.ca in January, up 1.3 percent from December 2018.

Toronto remained the most expensive market for renters this month, though rents didn’t move from the previous month. The one-bedroom average was $2,135, while the two-bedroom was $2,577.

Two-bedroom asking rents in Vancouver weren’t far off at $2,541, representing a 1-percent decline compared to a month prior. At the same time, the one-bedroom rent in Vancouver sunk 8 percent to $1,768.

The cheapest one-bedroom rents were in Fort St. John, BC, where they averaged $771. Quebec City offered renters the lowest average for two-bedroom apartments $955, up 3 percent month-over-month.

While Calgary’s ownership housing market has been battered by lower oil prices and the ensuing job losses that came as a result, the outlook is brighter for the city’s rental market.

One-bedroom rents were listed for $1,270, a month-over-month increase of 4 percent, although two-bedroom rents dipped 2 percent to $1,448.

“A pick-up in international immigration, and stronger household formation is expected to boost demand for rental accomodation, as a flat ownership housing market has not created a sense of urgency to buy among younger residents,” notes Myers. “The mortgage stress test has also reduced mortgage credit availability for would-be, first-time buyers.”

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New home? Prepare for the unexpected

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(NC) Buying a house, getting married or having your first baby are all major life events that are likely to affect your finances. But whether you’re in the midst of a major life event or not, it’s important to check in on your finances regularly to maintain good financial health.

Your financial health encompasses things like your spending, savings, borrowing and future financial plans. It also means dedicating a set amount of savings for unexpected future events. It can even include optional credit protection insurance, such as TD protection plans, to help cover your debt balances in case of death, a covered critical illness or total disability.

Even though it can be tough to think about the unexpected, life is unpredictable and it’s important to plan for the unexpected. Find more information at td.com.

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Mortgage pitfalls to avoid

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(NC) Throughout life, you may have moments where you’ll make a large purchase or invest in a costly item, like your family home. But whether you’re in the market for your first new property or already have a mortgage, leaving this asset unprotected can be costly.   

Insuring your housing financial debt, as well as debt for other big-ticket items like a new boat for your lakefront cottage or keepsake jewelry like an engagement ring, is a smart investment in your well-being.

To help protect your debt balances like a mortgage, your bank may have optional credit protection insurance products.

“Your home is one of your biggest assets, yet illness can happen at any stage of life. Worrying about your mortgage when the focus should be on health isn’t a situation anyone would wish for,” explains Shirley Malloy, vice president at TD. “Fortunately, we offer mortgage protection to provide coverage for your outstanding balance should you face a covered critical health event.”

Mortgage protection can be purchased whether you’re in the process of applying for a mortgage or already have a home financing solution. But what about protection options for credit card debt?

“Given the unprecedented circumstances of this year, many Canadians are trying to plan for the unexpected to protect themselves and their finances,” says Malloy. “TD balance protection plus is an optional product designed to help you deal with your credit card payment obligations in the event of a covered event, such as loss of employment.”

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Is your internet too slow? It’s probably not you

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(NC) We all know the aggravation of a school lesson that just won’t stop freezing or the family video call that looks more like a photo montage. And, as we adjust to the impact of COVID-19 on our day-to-day, that slow connection can have frustrating consequences.

Working from home and learning remotely, both need fast, stable internet, something not enough Canadians have yet. Even if you have fast devices in your home, if the infrastructure in your area is not optimal, your connection won’t be either.

Right now, cities have the infrastructure needed to ensure access. But rural and remote communities are hugely underserved, with fewer than half having high-speed internet, and fewer than a third of households on reservations have high-speed connections.

Fortunately, change is coming. The Universal Broadband Fund is backing projects across Canada right now to ensure the reliable, high-speed internet connections families need to work, study, access services online, and safely stay in touch with each other.

The fund existed before COVID, but as a response to the pandemic, its timetable has been moved up by four years to a target of 98 per cent of Canadians with high-speed internet access by 2026. With the faster pace, at least 90 per cent of us should be connected by the end of 2021.

The fund is focused on improvements in rural and remote communities across Canada to fix the disconnect between internet access for urban and rural households.  This means more remote work opportunities, better access to remote learning and safer access to healthcare, no matter where you live.

It’s not just for good connections at home, either. The improvements mean much better access to mobile networks on highways between remote communities. The result is better, safer navigation and access to emergency services for your family, even on the road in the middle of nowhere. Mobile projects will be focused on serving Indigenous communities and the roads leading to them.

The shape these improvements will take in your area will depend on where you live. Canada is huge, and its communities are hugely diverse, with diverse needs. Keep an eye out for local projects — they’re a small part of something much bigger.

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