Photo By: Aaron Sousa from Unsplash

It’s no surprise that the Canadian real estate market has become increasingly competitive over the past few years. With properties often being sold well over asking price, this was bound to have an effect on the rental market as well. 

The most recent Canadian Rent Report shows St. Catharines has jumped up the list to become the 9th most expensive city for rentals in Canada, over the course of just one year. What does this mean for students in search of housing? The median price for a one bedroom apartment has increased to $1,360. This is comparable to the price of ten course textbooks, or almost one full course credit at Brock. 

The jump in prices can be attributed to the large increase in demand as many Torontonians are opting to move to the Niagara Region, but a relatively steady supply of new properties that simply can’t keep up.

“I was really looking forward to moving back to St. Catharines for school since we’ll be having classes in-person again, but trying to find a rental in the same price range today is proving to be much harder than I thought,” said Devansh Doshi, fifth-year BBA student. 

Many upper-year students have expressed frustration while searching for housing because the properties they lived in during second and third-year are now renting for well over the price that they had paid. With so many students returning to Niagara after almost two years of online school, it has become difficult to find quality accommodations without breaking the bank. 

“Before I found my current house, I considered taking all of my classes online and backing out of moving altogether,” said Lauren Zonneveld, fifth-year accounting student. 

One of the biggest setbacks students are facing in this scenario is that they are spending just as much money in monthly rent as they would in monthly mortgage payments. However, higher-than-ever rent prices are leaving them with little to no savings for when they do choose to pursue homeownership. This has created a vicious cycle for renters, which has ultimately resulted in further hardship for those trying to qualify for mortgages. It is predicted that the market will cool off post-COVID-19, but given the market’s volatility in the past, it is extremely difficult to forecast anything with certainty.

For a more detailed breakdown of the market, take a look at the Canadian Rent Report.