Year-over-year rent increases for new listings in Nova Scotia — along with Alberta and Quebec — were higher than the Canadian average last month, according to a new report.
Urbanation and Rentals.ca data based on hundreds of rentals in Nova Scotia shows the average rents on a new listing for apartments in the province increased by 13.6 per cent to $2,097 in October, compared to a year earlier.
Strong population growth and large infusions of new rental units at above-average prices were cited as reasons for the increases in Nova Scotia as well as in Alberta and Quebec.
Michelle Malette, executive director of Out of the Cold Community Association in Halifax, said these numbers aren’t surprising.
“We have folks who work and support folks who are unhoused and precariously housed that routinely are losing their own housing,” she said.
Malette said more social housing is needed beyond what the provincial government has already announced and issues with fixed-term leases also need to addressed to tackle the housing crisis.
“You should be able to treat it [the place you rent] like it’s your home, and that’s just not true anymore,” she said. “It can be more or less taken from you at any time.”
Giacomo Ladas, communications manager for rentals.ca, said one-bedroom apartments are experiencing faster annual rent growth nationally compared two-bedroom apartments. He said this is because “one-bedrooms are always a little … higher in demand.”
Rentals.ca is an online marketplace with apartment rental listings.
The average one-bedroom apartment in Nova Scotia was listed for $1,891 in October, the Rentals.ca report said.
Ladas also said there’s been an increase in listings for roommates in Nova Scotia as people look for more affordable housing options, although this hasn’t been as prominent as in places like Toronto.
“There’s going to be a little bit more competition for available rental units as the demand increases,” Ladas said, adding that until the supply of housing increases we’re going to see rent increases for the foreseeable future.
Malette said the competition for rental housing disproportionately affects people working minimum wage or who receive income assistance, as well as those who experience other types of barriers like mental health struggles.
“Folks who … don’t have a good rental history, they’re really out of luck,” she said.