Rental wars heating up

More renters are being forced to battle it out and pay extra for units in urban markets.

The low level of inventory may frustrate opportunistic investors but some are enjoying the benefits of limited housing in major city centres.

An increasing number of people are engaging in rental wars, according to a new RE/MAX report, especially in Toronto and Calgary. Both cities have a vacancy rate of between one and two per cent, with potential home buyers finding it increasingly hard to find affordable rental units with the fear that this situation could postpone their ownership plans.

In Toronto, inventory has reached a record low, with average sale prices increasing by almost 8 per cent year-over-year in March.

However, with more sellers and buyers coming out of the long winter hibernation, many are expecting the situation to ease somewhat.

A new housing trend is also sweeping Vancouver as first-time buyers seek alternative routes to get their toe on the property ladder. The RE/MAX Spring Market Trends Report 2014 says that faced with rising prices, more buyers are snapping up 400 sq. ft. studios which are selling in the $150,000 price range.

“These entry-level condos have even led to the development of entire new lines of multipurpose furniture designed specifically for efficient spaces.”

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