The topic of renting in Toronto has become more and more of an anxiety inducing conversation for those freshly out of university or college who are making their first strides in a work environment.
For me and my friends, all fourth-year design students in Toronto, we are faced with the normal concerns of growing up, getting a job, and figuring out how to do our taxes. Tack on the added stress of finding a reasonable place to rent in the current rental climate of Toronto and we are faced with a real challenge.
According to the Toronto Foundation’s Vital Signs Report, the average rent for a condo in Toronto is $2,235 per month. A decade ago, the monthly average was under $1,500. You basically need to make $70,000 a year to afford a one-bedroom. This is wedged up against the median household income of just over $65,000.
As I, and the rest of the graduating class of 2020 across Toronto are going to be fresh out of university in half a year, these statistics do not provide the reassurance we may be searching for. At this point we have three options:
Continue to live at home along with over one‑third of young adults aged 20 to 34 in Canada that still live with their parents, and in Toronto, this number is even greater, resting at 47.4% as of 2016. This reveals a correlation between the rising cost of living and the percentage of young adults that continue to live with parent’s post-graduation.
The second option we have is to rent in Toronto, which is already an incredibly bloated topic that has been written about countless times already. Look no further than Toronto’s vacancy rate of 1% for rental apartments and 0.7% for condo apartment rentals, one of the lowest in the county. With almost all of the rental property already occupied, and the rates skyrocketing, is the city really the best option for graduate students looking to join the workforce?
And finally, we can move outside the city, which is facing similar affordability problems and rising rents. Take Kitchener for example, where apartments are appreciating at the second fastest rate in Canada. This poses a concern for young creatives, freelancers and workers as moving out of the cultural hub that is Toronto can result in a lack of opportunity.
As I and a large portion of my peers graduate, we will be contributing to the freelance and gig economies, our professions often require a large and responsive audience that can engage with our work. This audience is most often housed in an urban setting such as Toronto. As Statistics Canada reported, 2.18 million employees in Canada were temporary or independent workers in 2018, a number more than double what it was in 2001. It is clear that the freelance community is growing in Canada and our city doesn’t seem to be able to house them.
Renting in Toronto seems like a hopeless maze for new graduates to navigate, and there hasn’t been much optimistic news coming out in recent months. Although this article only adds to the pessimistic outlook, it is a real concern for me and many others who are about to rent in the city.