Q&A with Kijiji’s head of real estate

Your potential clients are increasingly turning to Kijiji to find their next rental. We spoke to the popular website about which markets are the most desirable, and which may provide the best bang for your buck in the future.
Kijiji Real Estate receives more than 4 million monthly unique visitors, according to Comscore. It examined apartment/condo for rent listing data for all of 2015 and 2016 to examine trends in listing supply, pricing and time to rent within all of our Canadian markets.  Kijiji currently has over 395,000 live listings in its Real Estate channel, of which, over 83,000 listings are Apartments/Condos for rent.
Canadian Real Estate Wealth spoke with Al Maitland, Head of Real Estate at Kijiji, about what the listings website has learned by crunching that data.
CREW: As we know, the rental market in Canada has experienced quite a roller coaster in 2016. What are some trends Kijiji saw in the Canadian real estate market in 2016?
Al Maitland: Let’s look at three key areas: supply of rental apartments, time to rent (how long a Kijiji-listed apartment remains available) and price.
We’ve seen significant changes in supply, in differing ways across the country. Supply in Ontario and Quebec declined significantly in 2016. Conversely, in the prairies, supply increased sharply early last year but tapered off in late 2016, and the market has begun to stabilize. The B.C. market transformed from a growing supply of apartments early in the year to negative supply towards the end, possibly due to foreign ownership rule changes leading to previous investment properties being sold to occupants instead of continued rental arrangements.
Time to rent remained fairly flat in most markets last year, including Ontario, Quebec and the prairies. However, it fluctuated significantly in B.C., again likely as an impact of the new foreign ownership rules.
Prices were up, down or the same, depending on where you were in Canada in 2016. The prairies saw prices fall between 5 and 10 per cent. Prices were fairly flat in Ontario and Quebec, staying within 3 per cent. And in B.C., prices rose in 2016, reflecting the lack of supply and landlords trying to pass new ownership rule price impacts along to tenants.
CREW: Which markets experienced a high/low in rental listings?
AM: Based on responses to ads for rental units, the busiest markets were Ontario (up 25 per cent compared to 2015), Quebec (up 26 per cent) and the Territories (up 27 per cent). In terms of cities, Toronto had the highest spike (up 29 per cent year over year) followed by Montreal (up 23 per cent).
On the low side, the prairies were pretty flat with only a 3 per cent increase in ad responses in 2016 compared to the previous year. B.C. was slightly stronger but not by much, with a 5 per cent increase. Among cities, Calgary saw a significant drop, down 8 per cent compared to 2015. Vancouver was off 5 per cent, and Edmonton declined by 2 per cent.
This is part 1 of a 2 part series. Check back Monday for the rest of our interview with Maitland. We talk market surprises and rental market forecasts for 2017


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