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 the cheapest places to rent in the GTA to help you keep your monthly costs as low as possible.
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Average rent in Oshawa
The average rent in Oshawa is currently $1,684 for an unfurnished, one-bedroom unit according to our May 2023 Rent Report. Compare this to Downtown Toronto’s $2,407 average for the same type of unit and Oshawa seems even more affordable.
City Breakdown: Oshawa
About: Once primarily viewed as the automotive capital of Canada, Oshawa has since grown to become a manufacturing and residential destination with a scenic location along the banks of Lake Ontario. Health and education have become huge areas of economic growth in Oshawa, and the city is home to Durham College as well as the North Oshawa campus of Ontario Tech University. The city currently has a population just over 170,000 and is located about 60 kilometres from Downtown Toronto.
Proximity to Downtown Toronto: Oshawa is about a 50 to 60 minute drive to Downtown Toronto, or 45-70 minutes by GO Train or VIA Rail.
Rental types: Oshawa is a mid-sized city with plenty of housing options for renters, ranging from mid-rise apartment buildings to larger houses along Lake Ontario’s shoreline.
- Studio apartments for rent: Oshawa
- One-bedroom apartments for rent: Oshawa
- Two-bedroom apartments for rent: Oshawa
Average rent in Brampton
The average rent in Brampton is $1,778 for an unfurnished, one-bedroom unit according to our May 2023 Rent Report. Rent prices for two-bedroom, unfurnished units are also much low compared to other places in the GTA, with Brampton’s $2,153 monthly average one of the cheapest in the region.
City Breakdown: Brampton
About: Topping off our list of the cheapest places to rent in the GTA, Brampton offers incredible value in a great location. Situated about 40 kilometres northwest of Toronto in Southeastern Ontario, Brampton is the ninth-largest city in Canada and also one of its fastest-growing. For renters seeking the convenience of Downtown Toronto without its considerably more expensive average rent prices, Brampton is the perfect middle ground thanks to its excellent transit options and the scope of its urban amenities.
Within this diverse city, also known as ‘The Flower Town of Canada’ thanks to its large greenhouse industry, there is plenty of green space and restaurants offering authentic cuisines from around the world. Brampton is also a short drive to Toronto Pearson International Airport, with transit options offering quick access from all corners of the city.
Proximity to Downtown Toronto:
Brampton is about a 35 to 50-minute drive to Downtown Toronto by car, which makes it an exceedingly popular place for commuters seeking less expensive rental housing. By transit, Brampton is only about a 45-minute trip to Downtown Toronto by way of the GO Train from Bramalea GO Station.
Brampton offers a broad mix of single-family residences, and mid- and high-rise multi-residential buildings housing plenty of condos to accommodate the city’s large renter population.
- Studio apartments for rent: Brampton
- One-bedroom apartments for rent: Brampton
- Two-bedroom apartments for rent: Brampton
Average rent in Milton
The average monthly rent for an unfurnished, one-bedroom unit in Milton is $1,947 as of our May 2023 Rent Report, making it another of the cheapest places to rent in the GTA at present.
City breakdown: Milton
About: Milton is right in the centre of the Halton Region, west of Downtown Toronto on the southern end of Ontario. In addition to being one of the cheapest places to rent in the GTA, it has also been one of Canada’s fastest-growing cities from 2001 to 2011, going from a relatively small suburb to a mid-sized city with a population of over 100,000 people. Milton’s many residents benefit from the area’s many unique outdoor spaces, trails, and year-round activities, as well as its relative proximity to Toronto itself.
Proximity to Downtown Toronto: Milton is about a 45 to 55 minute drive to Downtown Toronto and about 2 hours by GO Train from Milton GO Station.
Rental types: Milton is still a largely suburban city despite its rapid growth, with mostly townhomes and single-family residences as well as some low- and mid-rise condo buildings.
- Studio apartments for rent: Milton
- One-bedroom apartments for rent: Milton
- Two-bedroom apartments for rent: Milton
Average rent in Scarborough
Average rent in Scarborough is well below the current rates for the Greater Toronto Area as a whole, at $2,001 for an unfurnished, one-bedroom unit as of May 2023.
City breakdown: Scarborough
About: Scarborough was once little more than an assembly of small farming villages built around the Scarborough bluffs, growing rapidly over time to become a bustling hub of innovation with an expansive residential area. Home to all manner of parks, trails, beaches, and the Toronto Zoo, this exceptionally well-connected part of town has tons for renters of all ages to do – especially for those who enjoy the great outdoors.
Proximity to Downtown Toronto: Scarborough is about a 25 to 35minute drive away from Downtown Toronto, with multiple transit options that allow you to complete the journey in about 60 to 70 minutes.
Rental types: Scarborough has a fairly equal representation of single-family, detached homes and apartment & condo buildings.
- Studio apartments for rent: Scarborough
- One-bedroom apartments for rent: Scarborough
- Two-bedroom apartments for rent: Scarborough
5. East York
Average rent in East York
A former municipality within the current city of Toronto, East York’s rent prices are well below the city’s average – at $2,102 for an unfurnished, one-bedroom unit as of May 2023.
Neighbourhood breakdown: East York
About: East York is northeast of Toronto’s Downtown core, and offers surprisingly good value for renters despite its great location and plentiful amenities. There are plenty of green spaces throughout the neighbourhood like Stan Wadlow Park and ET Seton Park, primarily bordering the Don River that runs through East York. Residents will also find an assortment of schools with plenty of history, as well as areas for shopping primarily on the north end of the area.
Proximity to Downtown Toronto It’s about a 20-minute drive to Downtown Toronto from East York, and about 35-40 minutes by transit.
Rental types: East York is known for its older buildings that exemplify Toronto architecture, but there has been some new development in the area that has seen more high-rise condo buildings nearby.
- Studio apartments for rent: Toronto
- One-bedroom apartments for rent: Toronto
- Two-bedroom apartments for rent: Toronto
>> Read More: Neighbourhood Guide: Downtown Toronto
6. Vaughan-Richmond Hill
Average rent in Vaughan-Richmond Hill
The average rent for a one-bedroom, unfurnished unit in Vaughan Richmond Hill is currently $2,120 per month as of May 2023.
City breakdown: Vaughan-Richmond Hill
About: Balanced perfectly between the GTA’s suburbs and the urban centre of Downtown Toronto, the Vaughan and Richmond Hill areas are much more affordable than other parts of the city.
Vaughan is commonly referred to as “The City Above Toronto” thanks to its geographic location and rapid population growth over the past 20 years. It’s been counted among the best places to live in Ontario thanks to its relative affordability, great transit system, and status as one of Ontario’s burgeoning business and financial centres.
Richmond Hill is a fast-growing community in the York Region of the GTA, just North of Downtown Toronto. The area has even been counted among the six best places to live in Canada as recently as 2014, and it’s easy to see why. Mixing history, community, and a uniquely down-to-earth feel, Richmond Hill is the perfect place for renters seeking a cozy escape within a lively urban centre.
Proximity to Downtown Toronto:
Rental types: Vaughan is approximately 30-50 minutes by car to Downtown Toronto, or 50-60 minutes by public transit. Richmond Hill is just slightly further – about 40-60 minutes by car and an hour or so by public transit.
- Studio apartments for rent: Vaughan-Richmond Hill
- One-bedroom apartments for rent: Vaughan-Richmond Hill
- Two-bedroom apartments for rent: Vaughan-Richmond Hill
Average rent in Burlington
The average rent in Burlington this May was $2,159 for a one-bedroom apartment according to our latest liv.rent Rent Report.
City breakdown: Burlington
About: Burlington’s breathtaking location between the Niagara Escarpment and Lake Ontario is perhaps its best known quality, giving residents access to some of the country’s premier outdoor spaces within close proximity of their homes. Burlington is the largest of the four municipalities that make up the Halton Region, and is also the centre of the Golden Horseshoe – one of Canada’s largest industrial markets.
Proximity to Downtown Toronto: Burlington is about an hour’s drive to Downtown Toronto, or about 45-70 minutes by public transit depending on the route taken.
Rental types: Burlington has a good mix of single-family residences, as well as some newer mid-rise apartment buildings throughout its downtown district.
- Studio apartments for rent: Burlington
- One-bedroom apartments for rent: Burlington
- Two-bedroom apartments for rent: Burlington
Average rent in York
York is a district of Toronto comprising a number of neighbourhoods, each with their own unique, vibrant feel. The region’s rent prices are also just below the city’s average – at $2,160 for an unfurnished, one-bedroom unit as of May 2023.
Neighbourhood breakdown: York
About: York is a hip, desirable area of Toronto that lies southwest of North York and east of Etobicoke. Marked by its multicultural community and great transit, York is particularly popular with younger renters seeking a true urban experience. Though its boundaries are less clearly defined since its incorporation into the city of Toronto, the York area has always been known for its unique character, even before it became a part of Toronto.
Renters have a lot to love about this trendy neighbourhood. Its proximity to multiple GO Transit Stations makes it a great option for those looking to rent just outside of the bustling downtown core, while its excellent dining scene is an attractive draw as well. York also has plenty of parks and outdoor spaces to round out its robust offerings.
Proximity to Downtown Toronto It’s about a 20 to 30-minute drive to Downtown Toronto from York, and about 35-40 minutes by transit.
Rental types: Old East York is known for its older buildings that exemplify Toronto architecture, but there has been some new development in the area that has seen more high-rise condo buildings nearby.
- Studio apartments for rent: Toronto
- One-bedroom apartments for rent: Toronto
- Two-bedroom apartments for rent: Toronto
Average rent in the Greater Toronto Area
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 $2,190 for an unfurnished one-bedroom and $2,410 for a furnished one-bedroom unit. But if you break down rent by the GTA’s different cities & municipalities, then the current unfurnished one-bedroom rent prices look like this:
Source: liv.rent’s May 2023 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!
>> Read More: Neighbourhood Guide: Where To Live In Toronto
What is the cheapest rent in Toronto?
The cheapest places to rent in the GTA are typically found in cities like Brampton and Markham which 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 typically been the cheapest place for renters in Toronto over the past years, but this list shows that there are plenty of individual neighbourhoods in other corners of the city and region with even cheaper rent. 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 places to rent in the GTA
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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>> Stay up-to-date on the average rent in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal: Rent Reports.