If it feels like rental prices in Victoria have increased significantly from a year ago, that’s because they have.
According to a new report from Zumper, the median rental price for a one-bedroom unit in September was $2,080 a month, a 30 per cent increase from the same time last year.
Victoria tied with Burnaby as the third-most expensive rental market in the country for a one-bedroom unit, falling behind Toronto ($2,090 per month) and Vancouver ($2,500 per month).
Cities in British Columbia and Ontario dominated the list of the most expensive markets for a one-bedroom, with Halifax being the only city outside of those two provinces in the top 15.
Among the more affordable cities were Calgary at $1,480 per month, Winnipeg at $1,070 per month, Edmonton at $1,010 per month and Saskatoon at $1,000 per month.
When it comes to two-bedroom units, Victoria was the third-most expensive market in the country with a median price of $2,700 per month in September — a 25.6 per cent increase from the same time last year and a 6 per cent increase from the same time last month, according to Zumper’s report.
Only Burnaby ($2,860 per month) and Vancouver ($3,630 per month) were higher than Victoria.
The figures for Victoria are only for the city itself and do not include surrounding municipalities like Oak Bay, Esquimalt, and Saanich.
Crystal Chen, spokesperson for Zumper, said the median price for a one-bedroom has risen so much over a single 12-month period and is now nearly as much as Toronto is surprising.
“Victoria has always had a high demand for rentals but seeing the 30 per cent year-over-year jump is kind of nuts and only $10 behind Toronto now,” she said.
There are a number of factors that have contributed to Victoria’s staggering increase over the past year, but Chen said a more recent factor has been increasing interest rates, which is now pushing would-be-buyers into the rental market.
“Mortgage rates are rising and the demand is shifting from the ownership market to the rental market because of higher interest rates,” she said. “That is creating more renters and therefore more competition which continues to drive rent up.”
Other factors at play, said Chen, include more people working remotely, increased immigration, bidding wars among renters, the return of post-secondary students, bidding wars, low unemployment and lack of supply or available land.
“Victoria is so small and people want to be there and rents are always going to stay high because of that and because the lack of supply continues to fall short of what is needed,” said Chen.