How Do Rents in Canada’s Biggest Cities Compare Worldwide?

Being based in one of the top global financial hubs brings many advantages, not least in terms of lifestyle, culture, and, of course, jobs. But with the cost of renting an ever-important factor in today’s increasingly mobile job market, it pays to know what your options are when it comes to getting the best value. Thankfully, the US-based apartment search website RENTCafé has recently conducted a study that provides all the information you need.

By pooling data from Yardi Matrix, Point2Homes, and the Global Property Guide, it compared the average rental costs of one-bedroom apartments measuring between 600 – 900 square feet (55-85 square meters) across the world’s top 30 financial powerhouses. And the results might just surprise you.

Through information obtained by RENTCafé’s sister company and Canadian counterpart Point2Homes, the study revealed a curious, if not typically Canadian consistency: that this famously friendly nation enjoys equally friendly rents in its main financial centers: Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Friendly compared to other important financial hubs of the world, at least…


Average rents in Toronto have been an extremely hot button issue, as prices have risen almost in conjunction with steep real estate prices in the region. Uneven rules that capped increases in some buildings but not others prompted the provincial Ontario government to introduce new rent controls this week.

From a global perspective, however, Canada’s biggest city is the world’s 10th highest performer according to the The Global Financial Centers Index, and the average rent there works out at just $1,200 US dollars. That’s three times cheaper than what you’d expect to pay in NYC, which ranked as the most expensive of the world’s financial centers.

With a growing number of applications for jobs in the financial sector, there’s no question that Toronto’s only direction is up. The city’s next big challenge is going to be keeping its prices down by continuing to grow its rental market.


Montreal’s average rents come in at $850 US dollars, making it the second most reasonable of the world’s top 30 financial powerhouses after Casablanca, MA. And such enviably low rents are even more impressive when you consider that it ranks 14th in terms of its financial performance.

Several factors explain Montreal’s success. Culturally, the city has a history of renting going back centuries – something that explains its ample market. Then there’s the perceived language-barrier, which can be a put-off to the linguistically challenged among us. But the rewards, as far as lifestyle and affordability go, definitely make the move worth it.


Vancouver also did well out of the study. The world’s 17th strongest financial center boasts average rents of just $1,400, slotting it between Frankfurt, Germany, and Osaka, Japan. But incremental climbs in the cost of renting in recent years might be enough to persuade prospective renters to steer clear of the west coast in favour of Canada’s other two financial hubs.

With such reasonable rental market in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, Canada far exceeds its US counterparts and most of the big financial powerhouses across the pond. It’s still, of course, a balancing act; cheaper rents must be offset, for example, by higher personal taxes. But you get the services you pay for, and few would argue about Canada’s being world-class. So when it comes to renting in a top-performing financial powerhouse, it really does seem that you get more bang for your buck north of the border.

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