For months, Nathan Armstrong scoured apartment listings for a tiny motel room in Woodstock, Ontario. He and his wife must have lived there for over a year as they desperately searched for a place to rent.

“There’s not much there, and they seem to be going up. Fifteen, seventeen, nineteen hundred dollars for a one-bedroom apartment,” he said. “Our price range is disappearing.”

Armstrong described the situation as frustrating and costly. The couple couldn’t even cook their own meals at the motel.

“It’s very, very difficult,” he said. “Difficult to cook because we are not allowed to have our own cooking equipment. No toaster oven, it is against the fire code.”

The couple say they faced denial after denial, losing dozens of apartments amid fierce competition during their 16-month search for stable accommodation.

Rents are indeed rising rapidly in the area, according to a recent report from Rentals.ca and Bullpen Research and Consulting. Average apartment rents in nearest major city — London, Ont. – soared to $1,933 in June, up 28.5% from the same period last year.

WATCH | How Canadians are excluded from rental housing prices:

Soaring rents are costing some Canadians

Some Canadians are finding themselves increasingly overpriced as the cost of rent skyrockets across the country.

Some analysts predict that the rental market could get even hotter across Canada.

Ben Myers, president of Bullpen Research & Consulting, a real estate consultancy, says rising interest rates are pushing potential buyers away, adding pressure to the rental market.

“Both of these factors will keep tenants in their properties, further reducing rental supply,” Myers said.

The supply of rental housing is also a constant problem in Halifax. There, the vacancy rate is less than 1%, among the lowest in the country, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

“We have new construction and existing construction, but they can’t keep pace with the number of people looking for rental homes,” said Lesley Dunn, program director for RentersEd, which educates Canadians about renting.

Rental prices are increasing across Canada

She says low-income households are quickly depleted as rents rise faster than people’s paychecks. Dunn says the rental market is so hot it’s putting unfair pressure on applicants.

“Now you’re being asked to pay three months’ rent before you’re considered for an apartment. It’s devastating,” Dunn said.

“For most newcomers, for most young people, for most homeless people, for most people on fixed incomes, there’s absolutely no way they can afford it.”

The market is also tight for tenants in the larger cities, as they are the most expensive. The highest average apartment rents in Canada are in Vancouver, at $2,936 per month, nearly 25% higher than a year ago, according to Rentals.ca. In Toronto, the average for apartments is $2,463 per month, up nearly 20% year over year. Experts have pointed to a decades-long decline in the construction of housing specifically for rental purposes, known as purpose-built rentals, as another reason underlying the supply problems.

Murtaza Haider, a management professor at Metropolitan University of Toronto, says purpose-built rentals offer greater rental stability than condominiums, in which landlords who focus on investing are more likely to retire their properties. rental market to sell them when they feel the time is right. right.

“Purpose-built rentals offer security of tenure because you know it’s a rental property and there will be a rental left for them for the time being,” he said.

“The government has a big role to play”

Haider wants all levels of government to work together to encourage more construction.

“Government has an important role to play. It can incentivize builders to enter this market by changing the rules of the game…in favor of building more specialized rental housing,” he said. “The impetus is on us not to wait another 50 years or even five years and start making these changes.”

After 16 long months, Armstrong says he and his wife have finally found a home.

A man is sitting looking at the camera.
Nathan Armstrong and his wife lived in a motel in Woodstock, Ontario for over a year because they couldn’t find an affordable apartment. (Rob Krbavac/CBC)

“It’s amazing. A kitchen to cook in to help save money on food costs, especially now that the price of everything is going up,” he said.

He hopes the rental market will improve for others who are just beginning their search.

“It should never have taken more than a year to finally find permanent accommodation,” he said.