Housing & Rentals in Canada

Once you have arrived to Canada for the purpose of studying or working, you should necessarily look for an affordable accommodation, where you will live. It is quite a tough task to do in any country, and Canada is no exception in this matter. Yet, there are some tricks you might take advantage of. All in all, this article will help you to get to know the situation on the rental market of this country and will provide recommendations about how to find affordable housing in Canada.

The situation on the housing market in Canada

Even though the United States and, to a lesser extent, Canada have been severely hit by the bubble in the housing market, which also led to the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, it is still pretty difficult to find affordable accommodation in Canada. If you have come to Canada with a purpose of working or studying, that might make the situation even more difficult for you. Considering the fact that the majority of immigrants arrive to Canada’s largest and most developed regions, the housing issue becomes of a tremendous importance for them. According to the data of RBC, the average cost of housing in the Vancouver and Toronto areas was 1,073,400 and 730,000 Canadian dollars at the end of 2016, respectively. The index of affordability, calculated by the same investment bank, was 17.5 and 7.3 respectively. That gives a sharp contrast with the rest of Canada, given the average cost of housing at 453,000 Canadian dollars and the index of affordability at 3.7. Thus, it would be better for you to look for a job or a university outside of these two regions.

housing in canada

The prices of accommodation in Vancouver are sky-high

Another aspect that is a partial cause of the housing shortage is the era of low interest rates, which prompts many families to seek mortgages and buy their own houses. Considering that Toronto and Vancouver are the top Canadian destinations for English-speaking students and workers from all over the world, it would be wise to look for an accommodation outside of the cities and, especially, far from the city centers. The situation on the housing markets of the other Canadian regions is a bit less tough.

The rental prices are quite high in Canada too, and a single apartment may cost from 400 up to 1,500 Canadian dollars per month – the price heavily varies across the regions. Some emigrants, who want to save a part of their money, opt to resort to shared accommodations, i.e. when you rent an apartment with another person. In such a case, the rental costs may be lowered up to 250-750 Canadian dollars per month.

Types of housing in Canada

Naturally, there are different types of housing in Canada, and so you are offered a large choice of accommodation, namely:

  • Apartments;
  • Condominiums (the type of ownership when a person owns the property, but doesn’t actually own the land and pays monthly fees for cleaning, maintenance, etc.)
  • Townhouses (usually, there are rows of townhouses attached to each other and people share one or two walls with their neighbors);
  • Semi-detached houses (these are the houses with only one shared wall, and people own both the house and the land and are responsible for it);
  • Detached houses (these houses do not share any walls with other houses and are considered to be the most expensive type of property; people own both the house and the land).

Ways of finding housing in Canada

There are different means of seeking housing in Canada, yet we suggest you to use at least a few ways (or all) in order to find accommodation faster, since the competition for affordable housing is intense. Canada is a very decentralized country, and there are many websites and real estate agencies focused only on certain regions. At the end of this article, you will find some useful links where you can find accommodation in the major Canadian regions.

rentals in canada

Real estate agencies in Canada focus mostly on selling property rather than rentals

So, the ways of finding housing in Canada are the following ones:

Websites that specialize in search of housing. Here, we will provide some of such websites, where you can find property in any region of Canada:

Your friends, relatives, and acquaintances. Considering that you have just arrived to Canada, you might lack the necessary contacts to use this option. Yet, most immigrants face the same issues and there might be a family or a friend of yours who also recently emigrated and found a good option. Perhaps, he or she might offer something for you, too?
Canadian authorities. If you are in need of housing in Canada, you can contact the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), which might help you to find an accommodation for rent or offer an affordable mortgage program. Many Canadians, not only foreigners, turn to this company for help.
Canadian real estate agencies. You might consider this option as well, yet you should keep in mind that the majority of real estate agencies in Canada, unlike their European counterparts, are not focused on housing rentals, but sell property. So, it might be quite a tough task to do as well. You may try to use the services of the following real estate agencies:

Canadian newspapers and magazines. For example, you can try to look for housing in the popular Canadian newspaper “The Globe and Mail.”

Tips for potential tenants

If you are planning to move to Canada for a quite long period of time, you should try to seek housing in Canada in advance. Find out what city you are going to move in and start searching immediately. Don’t fall for a low price, but find out about how far is it from the place you are going to work or study in, how is the traffic in those places, the situation with transport, etc.

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The majority of the Canadians own the houses they live in

Once you are in Canada, you shouldn’t wait but go and see the possible options on your own. This way, you will know what to expect, at least. When going to see the property for rent, you should be dressed properly and be on time. All in all, imagine that it is a job interview, and your chances of getting an affordable accommodation will rise.

The share of housing ownership is quite high in Canada – more than 2/3 of the entire population own their houses. Many of those Canadians want to rent their accommodation, yet they do not want to bother themselves with finding tenants, thus entrusting it to real estate agencies. So even though the majority of real estate agencies are focused on selling property, you will barely face any problem with rentals, if you resort to the use of their services. Yet, expect the fees for their services to be around 10% of the monthly rental cost.

Useful sources

There are the following sources of housing in Canada: