Rents in Canada Expected to Stay High for Longer, Impacting Inflation Fight‍

Rents in Canada Expected to Stay High for Longer, Impacting Inflation Fight‍
May 8, 2024

Canadian renters are in for a tough stretch as rental prices are expected to remain stubbornly high for the next two years, according to TD Bank. This trend aligns with a global phenomenon impacting developed economies like the US (7.7% year-over-year rent inflation), UK (20% increase since 2022), and Australia (record high median rent of A$627 a week). These surging rents pose a significant challenge for central banks, including the Bank of Canada, in their fight to control inflation.

Why Are Rents So High in Canada?

Several factors are contributing to the high rental prices in Canada:

  • Limited Housing Supply:  A lack of new housing construction, coupled with strong population growth due to immigration, has created a situation of high demand and constrained supply, driving rents upwards.
  • Impact of Rising Interest Rates:  While intended to curb inflation, rising interest rates have also discouraged some potential buyers from entering the housing market, further increasing demand for rentals.

Rents Hinder Progress on Inflation Control

Shelter costs, which include rent, account for a significant portion (around 30%) of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in Canada. As rents continue to rise, it becomes more difficult for the overall inflation rate to decline towards the Bank of Canada's target of 2%. This situation creates a precarious loop:

  • Rising rents contribute to higher inflation.
  • To combat inflation, the Bank of Canada may raise interest rates.
  • Higher interest rates may further limit new housing supply and push more people towards rentals, keeping rents elevated.

The Bank of Canada's Balancing Act

The Bank of Canada is caught in a balancing act. While aiming to control inflation, they also need to consider the impact on economic growth and employment. Here's how the Bank of Canada might navigate this situation:

  • Maintain or Increase Interest Rates: If inflation persists due to high rents, the Bank of Canada may hold off on lowering interest rates or even consider further hikes to cool down the economy.
  • Focus on Other Measures: The Bank may explore alternative measures to address housing affordability, potentially working with the government on policies to increase housing supply.

What Can Renters Do?

  • Research and Compare:  With rents expected to stay high, it's crucial for renters to thoroughly research rental options and compare prices before signing a lease.
  • Negotiate:  While negotiating rent increases might be challenging in a tight market, renters can still attempt to negotiate terms or request concessions from landlords.
  • Consider Alternatives:  Depending on location and circumstances, exploring options like shared accommodations or co-living arrangements might offer some cost relief.


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