A new report from reveals that, in the one-bedroom category, Toronto rents have surpassed Vancouver’s, but the latter’s two-bedroom units are still Canada’s most expensive.

“Toronto has been a hot market,” said Matt Danison,  “The prices keep going up and up and up. Toronto and Vancouver are always battling for the top rents in the country; it’s always neck and neck. Toronto overtook Vancouver for the month July.”

The average one-bedroom in Toronto costs $1,862 to rent, while in Vancouver it’s a hair lower at $1,833. A two-bedroom unit in Vancouver rents for an average of $2,583 a month, and for $2,193 Toronto.

That Toronto and Vancouver jokey for the unceremonious title of most expensive rental city in Canada is a consequence of supply shortages in both cities. Danison has a solution that could offer some relief, albeit in a limited capacity.

“New rental buildings have to have a different approach in that, like Manhattan, the square footage has to be a lot smaller than it is. That way, you can include more rental units in a building by cutting the square footage. Instead of living in a 900 square foot apartment with super high rent, you can cut the rent by reducing the square footage to 650.”

Danison concedes tight quarters aren’t ideal, but then again, neither are escalating rents. Plus, buildings with smaller units tend to offer better amenities.

Moreover, because his idea is not unprecedented, he believes that Toronto and Vancouver should take a page out of Montreal’s playbook.

Tobias Smulders, a sales representative REMAX Escarpment Realty Inc., not only believes smaller units are ideal for single people, they will help cities like Toronto fulfill their intensification mandates.

“You could do more by increasing overall intensification,” he said. “All these buildings they’re constructing should not be limited in height as much as they are. An issue we have here in Hamilton is they don’t want to allow developers to build what they propose. If they apply for 40 storeys, they’ll get approved for something like 20 storeys.”

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