Finding a Montreal apartment that won't leave you struggling to pay rent can be an insanely stressful experience. The hunt is ferocious and good living quarters are few and far between. Nevertheless, you must choose, and choose wisely, for as the right place will elevate your life to new heights, the wrong one will leave you with loud neighbours and smelly hallways.
Potential renters may find some guidance in a new study by the Regroupement des comités logement et associations de locataires (RCLALQ) that breaks down the most and least expensive neighbourhoods in Quebec.
The study, which analyzed nearly 61,000 Kijiji rental listings in different regions of the province from February 21 to May 27, found that the average rent in Montreal is $1,258 a month.
The average rent for a studio apartment in the city is $935, a one-bedroom unit costs $1,140, a two-bedroom unit costs $1,317, and a three-bedroom unit will set you back $1,563.
There are significant differences in price from neighbourhood to neighbourhood.
In the least expensive borough, Montréal-Nord, the average rent for a studio apartment is $672.
Downtown, which has not only the highest rate in the city but also in all of Quebec, the figure is more than 50% higher at $1,184.
Another pricey neighbourhood is the Plateau-Mont-Royal borough where it will run you $949.
Along with NDG/Côte Saint-Luc, where a studio apartment will cost you $811 and Côte-Des-Neiges/Mont-Royal/Outremont where it costs $840.
But, in LaSalle ($671), Ahuntsic-Cartierville ($687), and the South Shore ($637), you can rent a studio apartment for practically a song.
Renting a nice place in Montreal may not be an unaffordable dream after all.
In Quebec City, the average rent is $907, a studio apartment costs $665, a one-bedroom unit goes for $801, a two-bedroom unit costs $917, and a three-bedroom unit will set you back $1,170.
As for Laval, the average is $1,151, a studio costs $787, a one-bedroom goes for $936, a two-bedroom unit costs $1,141, and a three-bedroom unit will run you $1,466.
Thetford Mines, the province's least expensive community in the survey, is relatively affordable, with the average rent being $523 a month.
Though rental rates across the country have experienced short-term decreases due to the economic devastation wrought by the pandemic, year-over-year rents are surging, states the report.
The report cites data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) that shows housing shortages are worsening in many parts of the province.
Quebec's vacancy rate is the lowest it's been in about 15 years at 1.8%. Montreal's vacancy rate is 1.5%, which means you may have a hard time finding a place.
In the report, the RCLALQ calls on the provincial government to help curb increases in rent, protect the rights of tenants and promote affordable housing.