Kitchener rents appreciating at one of Canada's fastest rates
KITCHENER – Lots of demand, few options and sky-high prices: this is the reality for local renters.
Apartments in Kitchener are appreciating at the second-fastest rate in Canada, causing an affordability crunch in the city.
If you want to rent a new condominium downtown, it will likely cost between $1,700 and $2,100 a month. That's if you can get it before someone else does.
Ren Navarro is the kind of person that a gentrifying city covets: the beer entrepreneur is upwardly mobile, a Toronto expat new renting in Kitchener.
"To be able to cut that housing budget by a good six or $700, that's when you say yes to it," she says.
Her rent in Kitchener when she moved here three years ago was $1,800 a month, $400 less than she was paying in Toronto.
But she realizes that's not the case for everyone.
"A bunch of my friends who were born and bred in Kitchener were like, 'You're ruining the market for us,'" she says.
Her Kitchener rent then is still more than the average rent now. A one-bedroom is now averaging $1,300 a month, according to Pad Mapper, a 15 per cent increase over last year.
That average is city-wide—downtown is different.
"Socio-economics is a thing we don't talk about enough and people are in really tight positions," she explains.
There are a lot of them. On Monday night, Kitchener council passed a new bylaw that may provide some renter relief, allowing granny suites and tiny homes.
That bylaw will open up 50,000 properties to densification.
"This is one little piece of the puzzle, it's not going to solve the affordability in Kitchener," Coun. Sarah Marsh told CTV on Monday.
Navarro likes the idea, but cautions that it may not slow the spiking rents downtown because it's still cheaper than Toronto.
"That's why people are leaving, but we're driving up prices in other cities because we'll take it, because automatically it's cheaper," she explains.
After paying that $1,800 a month, she was able to land a two-bedroom apartment for $1,400 a month, including parking.
She says she's lucky, because it was still under construction when she signed the lease.