Regina and Saskatoon have taken the 21st and 22nd spot in terms of rental affordability in the country according to Zumper’s August rent report.
Zumper said the average price of one and two bedrooms in Saskatoon are both at $1,130, with the prices going up 14.1 per cent year-over year.
“It’s pretty affordable comparatively,” said Crystal Chen, spokesperson for Zumper. “It’s pretty close to the national median where one beds are up about 15 per cent. It’s about five to $600 more affordable than the national median every month.”
Chen said that the 17 per cent year-over-year increase on two bedrooms in Saskatoon is approximately two per cent higher than the national median.
“There is a big demand for housing there and currently not enough housing supply and that is why rents are up so high,” Chen said.
Chen said that according to housing seasonality, most people are moving near the end of summer and into fall when leases are ending, and students are moving cities for post-secondary programs.
University of Saskatchewan students’ union president Ishita Mann said that students are struggling with the cost of living while moving for post-secondary school.
“Areas close to the university are almost holding some sort of premium and are costing a lot of money that the average student just cannot afford with rising tuition costs as well,” Mann said.
Mann believes the rent increases were instigated by the work-from-home shift.
“Many students were learning from abroad when they were outside of the country or just living in their home cities in Saskatchewan, so coming to Saskatoon and now having to attend classes in person does mean that they have to compete with an already existing population here.”
Chen noted that the rental vacancy rate has dropped consistently in Saskatoon for five consecutive years, sitting at 4.2 per cent.
“Canada had the highest number of recent immigrants recorded moving in and that population drives up demand and creates more competition for housing and Canada has not had a lot of new construction,” Chen said.
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According to the report, Regina is sitting in a similar situation with the average price of a one-bedroom apartment at $1,160 per month and $1,360 for a two-bedroom.
The city also has one of the fastest-growing year-over-year one-bedroom rents, with rent climbing 19.6 per cent in August, putting it in fourth place behind Toronto.
The only cities experiencing a year-over-year decline were Kelowna, B.C. and Windsor, Ont.
“I don’t see the demand in Canada for housing lessening anytime soon since the population is growing and think until new housing is built, it’s going to stay high and rising,” Chen added.
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