Average asking rents in Ottawa fall 8.7% in April, report says

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The average asking rent price in Ottawa fell nearly nine per cent in April, mirroring a national trend that reflected the economic downturn in the wake of COVID-19, according to a website that lists rental properties across the country.

Rentals.ca said Thursday the average asking rent for condos and apartments in Ottawa was $1,746 last month, down 8.7 per cent from March. It was the fourth-largest decrease in the country, trailing only London, Edmonton and the GTA region of York, which all saw double-digit drops.

The website’s national rent report said average asking rents for one-bedroom apartments it surveyed in Ottawa fell 4.1 per cent month-over-month to $1,636, while two-bedroom units declined 8.5 per cent to $1,979. 

Nationally, average asking rent prices held steady at $1,842 in April, but the report said markets that had been extremely tight such as Ottawa ​– where the vacancy rate was below two per cent at the end of 2019 ​– are now “flush with supply.” 

The report said many people who’d been considering changing apartments or entering the market are putting their decisions on hold during the COVID-19 crisis. 

“Many tenants don’t want to search for an apartment during this health pandemic, despite the quality of virtual tours,” the study said. “They don’t want their current apartment to be opened up for viewings, and they don’t want to move and expose themselves to the coronavirus in any way.”

At the same time, Rentals.ca said it has experienced a “noteworthy increase” in traffic on its website in recent weeks after seeing a 35 per cent decline in page views over the last two weeks of March, suggesting there “appears to be optimism” the economy is on the road to recovery.