Renting vs. Buying in Canada in 2024: A Detailed Look

Renting vs. Buying in Canada in 2024: A Detailed Look
May 11, 2024

The Canadian housing market in 2024 is a landscape in transition. While both renters and potential buyers face challenges, there are strategic considerations to guide your decision depending on your circumstances. Let's explore the key trends shaping the rental and homeownership markets this year.

The Rental Market

  • Rent on the Rise (But Maybe Slower): Rents are likely to continue increasing in 2024, but the breakneck pace of 2023 (a staggering 8% increase according to's National Rent Report) is expected to slow down.
  • Interest Rate Impact (A Potential Silver Lining): The Bank of Canada's anticipated interest rate cut in July could offer some relief to landlords facing higher borrowing costs. This, in turn, could translate to a slower increase – or even a slight dip – in rents in some areas.
  • Future Supply on the Horizon (A Long-Term Solution): The government's initiatives aimed at incentivizing the construction of new rental properties offer a long-term solution for affordability, but the impact won't be immediate. The Canadian Housing and Renewal Corporation (CHRC) predicts a supply increase of 3-5% by 2027, potentially leading to a more balanced rental market in major cities in the years to come.

City-Specific Variations

  • Toronto and Vancouver: These perennially expensive markets, with average home prices exceeding $1 million, may see slower rent growth compared to the national average due to stretched affordability limits
  • Edmonton and Calgary: Strong job markets and population growth are attracting renters, creating a competitive market with potentially higher rent increases. Calgary's one-bedroom apartment rents currently average $1707, while Edmonton sits around $1,339. These numbers could rise by 4-6% in the coming months due to high demand.
  • Kelowna: Kelowna sits at 13th place nationally in terms of average rent prices with average rent of $2,009 for 1 Bedroom and $2,484 for 2 Bedroom.

The Homeownership Market

  • Resale Market Poised for Pick-Up?: Favorable weather conditions, potentially lower borrowing costs due to anticipated interest rate cuts, and pent-up demand from previous years could all contribute to a significant rise in resale activity in the latter half of 2024. The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) predicts a 10-15% increase in national home sales volume compared to the first half of the year.
  • Interest Rates: A Key Driver for Buyers: The Bank of Canada's predicted rate cut is expected to be a major catalyst for the resale market. Lower interest rates would make mortgages more affordable, potentially opening the door to homeownership for some first-time buyers.
  • Regional Price Variations to Consider: Affordability concerns, particularly in Ontario and British Columbia, may limit overall price gains. However, provinces like Alberta, with a robust economy and lower housing costs (average home price around $500,000), could see stronger growth of 4-7%.
  • Price Stability, Not a Crash: While prices might not climb as high as during the pandemic peak, significant price drops are also unlikely. According to CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation), foreclosures are expected to remain low due to government support programs. CMHC further predicts national average home prices to hold relatively steady in 2024, with potential modest increases in the latter half of the year, driven by the resale market surge.

Renting vs. Buying in Canada: Navigating Your Housing Journey in 2024

The decision to rent or buy a home is a significant one, impacting your finances and lifestyle for years to come.  There's no single "right" answer, as the best choice depends on your individual circumstances. Here's a breakdown of key factors to consider:

  • Financial Stability: Homeownership comes with upfront costs like down payments and closing fees, along with ongoing expenses like property taxes and maintenance. Ensure you have a stable income and emergency savings to comfortably manage these financial commitments.
  • Lifestyle Preferences:  Do you crave stability and the ability to put down roots? Homeownership allows you to customize your living space and build lasting memories. However, renting offers flexibility and the freedom to move easily for career opportunities or changing life situations.
  • Long-Term Plans:  Homeownership can be a good long-term investment, potentially building equity that increases your net worth over time. This is especially true if you plan to stay put for several years.  If your timeline is uncertain, renting provides more flexibility without the commitment of a mortgage.

The Canadian housing market in 2024 presents a dynamic landscape for both renters and buyers. Carefully weigh the trends, potential shifts, and your individual circumstances to make an informed decision that aligns with your financial goals and lifestyle preferences. Consulting with a qualified financial advisor or real estate professional can be invaluable in navigating the complexities of the market and making a sound choice for your future.


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