[Updated December 2021] The Top 8 Cheapest Cities To Rent In The Greater Toronto Area
Toronto certainly isn’t known for having the cheapest rent in Canada. In fact, before the market changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Toronto was consistently the most expensive place to rent in the country. But how much is rent in Toronto exactly? We’re going to look at rental averages across the main cities and municipalities of the Greater Toronto Area and show you where to find cheap rent in Toronto to help keep your costs as low as possible.
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Average rent in Brampton
The average rent in Brampton was $1,621 for an unfurnished, one-bedroom apartment according to liv.rent data from December 2021.
Neighbourhood Breakdown: Brampton
About: This municipality has historically always been the number one most affordable place to rent in the entire GTA, with averages well below those of Downtown Toronto. Brampton is a diverse, multicultural community ideal for nature lovers and conveniently located near Pearson Airport.
Proximity to Downtown Toronto:
Brampton is about 45 minutes away from Downtown Toronto by either car or transit, with a variety of reliable options available for the latter.
Brampton is a reasonably large and incredibly diverse community that has many larger multi-family properties for rent, as well as many high-rise and low-rise apartment buildings with numerous affordable offerings.
- Studio apartments for rent: Brampton
- One-bedroom apartments for rent: Brampton
- Two-bedroom apartments for rent: Brampton
Average rent in Scarborough
The average rent in Scarborough was $1,726 for an unfurnished one-bedroom apartment according to liv.rent data from December 2021. While this is relatively close to the median for the Greater Toronto Area, this municipality consistently offers much cheaper options for two-bedroom and three-bedroom rentals.
Neighbourhood breakdown: Scarborough
About: Scarborough is another diverse community with a lot to offer its residents. Surrounded by beaches, parks, and hiking trails, Scarborough is perfect for those looking to enjoy the outdoors. The community is also known for its wide array of high-quality restaurants, including many regional Southeast Asian, Chinese, and Indian dining options.
Proximity to Downtown Toronto: This neighbourhood is just east of Downtown Toronto, about 35 minutes away by car. Transit from Scarborough is also perfectly manageable, with about an hour’s journey to Downtown Toronto.
Rental types: Scarborough has a strong community feel and offers many properties geared towards families, while also containing many different types of apartments for individual renters. It may be in your best interest to find a roommate though — two-bedroom and three-bedroom rentals are considerably cheaper in Scarborough than in other parts of the GTA.
- Studio apartments for rent: Scarborough
- One-bedroom apartments for rent: Scarborough
- Two-bedroom apartments for rent: Scarborough
3. Vaughan/Richmond Hill
Average rent in Vaughan/Richmond Hill
The average rent in Vaughan/Richmond Hill was $1,609 for an unfurnished, one-bedroom apartment according to liv.rent data from December 2021.
Neighbourhood breakdown: Vaughan/Richmond Hill
About: Vaughan and Richmond Hill are two communities located north of Toronto in the York region. Vaughan was once known as “the city above Toronto” owing to its relatively large size and abundant urban amenities — including being home to Canada’s Wonderland. Richmond Hill is comparatively smaller, but not by much. It’s known for its many parks and outdoor recreational areas, and residents will discover plenty of green space within the city.
Proximity to Downtown Toronto: Vaughan and Richmond Hill are quite close to each other, and it’s about a 50-minute drive to Downtown Toronto from either community by car.
Rental types: Both Vaughan and Richmond Hill are populous cities in the York region, and renters can find all sorts of rental types here.
- Studio apartments for rent: Vaughan
- One-bedroom apartments for rent: Vaughan
- Two-bedroom apartments for rent: Vaughan
- Studio apartments for rent: Richmond Hill
- One-bedroom apartments for rent: Richmond Hill
- Two-bedroom apartments for rent: Richmond Hill
Average rent in Markham
The average rent in Markham was $1,593 for an unfurnished, one-bedroom apartment according to liv.rent data from December 2021. Prices don’t increase much for a two-bedroom unit, with the average being $1,894 for the same period.
Neighbourhood breakdown: Markham
About: Markham offers both cultural diversity and rich history, and is just Northeast of Downtown Toronto, near Richmond Hill to the West. Markham has a variety of employment opportunities owing to its large size, with a population close to 350,000.
Proximity to Downtown Toronto It’s about a 45-minute drive away from Downtown Toronto from Markham, and about the same by transit..
Rental types: Thanks to its diverse job sector, Markham has plenty of rental options for young professionals and families alike.
- Studio apartments for rent: Markham
- One-bedroom apartments for rent: Markham
- Two-bedroom apartments for rent: Markham
Average rent in Mississauga
The average rent in Mississauga was $1,859 for an unfurnished, one-bedroom apartment according to liv.rent data from December 2021.
Neighbourhood breakdown: Mississauga
About: Mississauga is a relatively affordable place to call home that’s still adjacent to the big city. It is the third most populous municipality in Ontario, and the sixth most in Canada — making it ideal for those seeking an alternative to Toronto while still having all the accessibility of a larger city.
Proximity to Downtown Toronto: Mississauga is about a 30-minute drive away from Downtown Toronto, with multiple transit options that allow you to complete the journey in about 15-20 minutes.
Rental types: Mississauga’s size means it has options for nearly every demographic, from single-bedroom apartments to multi-family homes.
- Studio apartments for rent: Mississauga
- One-bedroom apartments for rent: Mississauga
- Two-bedroom apartments for rent: Mississauga
Average rent in Etobicoke
The average rent in Etobicoke was $1,692 for an unfurnished, one-bedroom apartment according to liv.rent data from December 2021.
Neighbourhood breakdown: Etobicoke
About: Etobicoke has history galore, and a variety of modern amenities that make it ideal for renters from all walks of life. Residents will find ample job opportunities with many offices calling the city home, as well as access to shopping and convenient transit options to nearby Downtown Toronto.
Proximity to Downtown Toronto: Closer to the city than many other GTA areas, it’s a 30-minute drive to Downtown Toronto from Etobicoke or approximately 20 minutes by transit.
Rental types: Etobicoke is known for its suburban feel, and has many older low-rise apartment buildings and single-family homes for rent.
- Studio apartments for rent: Etobicoke
- One-bedroom apartments for rent: Etobicoke
- Two-bedroom apartments for rent: Etobicoke
7. North York
Average rent in North York
The average rent in North York was $1,847 for an unfurnished, one-bedroom apartment according to liv.rent data from December 2021.
Neighbourhood breakdown: North York
About: Though certainly not the most affordable area in the GTA, North York offers some relative deals for those looking. This glamorous municipality is recognized as one of the more prestigious areas in Canada, with a number of attractive luxury amenities including private schools, urban parks, and convenient access to a variety of transit options as well as Toronto-Pearson Airport.
Proximity to Downtown Toronto: Just north of Downtown Toronto, North York is about a 30-minute drive away or about 20-25 minutes by transit.
Rental types: North York has a strong community feel and offers a variety of options for both young families and individuals.
- Studio apartments for rent: North York
- One-bedroom apartments for rent: North York
- Two-bedroom apartments for rent: North York
8. Downtown Toronto
Average rent in Downtown
The average rent in Downtown Toronto was $2,184 for an unfurnished, one-bedroom apartment according to liv.rent data from December 2021. This is definitely far from the cheapest rent you can find in the GTA, but many renters are willing to pay the extra price for the convenience of living right downtown.
Neighbourhood breakdown: Downtown Toronto
About: Downtown Toronto is the most populous region in Canada, and offers a true taste of the big city. An incredibly diverse city, Toronto has everything renters could ever ask for including shopping, entertainment, culture & cuisine, and so much more. For those seeking employment as well, Toronto’s rich technology and business sectors are the perfect place for young professionals trying to get their start.
Proximity to Downtown Toronto: You’re already there!
Rental types: As Canada’s largest urban centre, Downtown Toronto truly has options for every renter.
- Studio apartments for rent: Downtown
- One-bedroom apartments for rent: Downtown
- Two-bedroom apartments for rent: Downtown
Average rent in Toronto
Toronto rent has rebounded significantly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in Downtown where prices have returned to well above their previous levels.
So, what’s the cheapest rent in Toronto? Well, the average rent is $1,766 for an unfurnished one-bedroom and $1,933 for a furnished one-bedroom. But if you break down rent by GTA neighbourhood, then the current unfurnished one-bedroom ranking looks like this:
- Markham — $1,593
- Vaughan-Richmond Hill — $1,609
- Brampton — $1,621
- Etobicoke — $1,692
- Scarborough — $1,726
- North York — $1,847
- Mississauga — $1,859
- Downtown — $2,184
Source: liv.rent December 2021 Toronto Rent Report
If you find an apartment for rent in Toronto that’s less than these averages — then we’d call that a good deal!
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What is the cheapest rent in Toronto?
The cheapest rent in Toronto is typically found in neighbourhoods like Brampton and Markham that are a little bit further away from the centre of the city, but prices have been known to fluctuate significantly throughout the GTA.
As an example, Brampton has been the cheapest place for renters in Toronto for months now, but has since been overtaken by Markham this month. In fact, Brampton’s rental averages are up +15.26% for furnished one-bedroom units, and +7.04% for unfurnished ones this month. To stay on top of the area’s rental averages, we suggest keeping your eyes peeled to our monthly Rent Reports. We’ve recently added a breakdown of the GTA’s individual neighbourhoods, as well as including data for cities and municipalities outside of the GTA to give renters a clearer picture of Ontario’s rental scene.
How to find cheap rent in Toronto
Now that you have an idea of what the cheapest neighbourhoods are in the GTA, how do you find cheap rent?
1. Use liv.rent to find listings
The first place you can look is liv.rent — search in an affordable neighbourhood and drat and drop the price selector tool to pull up listings that are within your budget.
2. Look for rental incentives
Next, you can scan listings with rental incentives like a month of free rent, discounts on rent, or other freebies that come when you sign a one-year lease.
3. Negotiate rent
Finally, you might be able to negotiate a lower rent for a unit. This is especially true if the place you’re looking at is listed for above the monthly average in the area.
Ask the landlord if they’d be open to accepting 5% to 10% less and be ready to prove that similar units in the area are going for cheaper.
Resources for Toronto Renters
For information regarding COVID-19, refer to these comprehensive resource posts. They include information on the various federal and provincial assistance initiatives available to help support landlords (small business relief) and tenants (rent relief):
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) Canada – Support For Landlords
- Tips for Moving During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Renting: changes during COVID-19
- Access financial support for renters from the City of Toronto
Renting in Ontario
For information on renting in Ontario, refer to these resource posts about leases and evictions.
- Ontario Standard Lease Explained
- Frequently Asked Questions: Everything You Need to Know About Eviction in Ontario
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