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Cities With The Largest Rent Hikes: Prairies On Fire As Toronto Lags

Some of Canada's major metro areas have seen soaring rental prices over the past decade, but which cities those are could surprise you.

Canada's largest and most expensive rental markets saw some of the weakest rental rate growth over the past decade, while the biggest jumps took place on the booming prairies and even in Atlantic Canada, says BuzzBuzzHome in an analysis of data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

Regina saw the largest rental price hikes in the country, with the average cost of a two-bedroom apartment soaring nearly 73 per cent, to $1,018 in 2013, compared to $589 in 2003. Halifax saw rental rates rise nearly 36 per cent during that time, faster than Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver.

According to the Bank of Canada, overall inflation during that period amounted to 19.65 per cent. Only one of the major markets surveyed by BuzzBuzzHome saw rents rise below the rate of inflation: Toronto, which saw a tepid 16.6-per-cent increase.

In 2003, Toronto was the only major city in Canada where a two-bedroom apartment averaged more than $1,000; by 2013, seven of the 10 metro areas surveyed had passed the $1,000 mark.

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  • Toronto - up 16.6%

Average 2-bedroom rent 2013: $1,213 2003: $1,040 Source: CMHC / BuzzBuzzHome

  • Ottawa - up 21.5%

Average 2-bedroom rent 2013: $1,132 2003: $932 Source: CMHC / BuzzBuzzHome

  • Montreal - up 27%

Average 2-bedroom rent 2013: $730 2003: $575 Source: CMHC / BuzzBuzzHome

  • Vancouver - up 32.8%

Average 2-bedroom rent 2013: $1,281 2003: $965 Source: CMHC / BuzzBuzzHome

  • Victoria - up 35.4%

Average 2-bedroom rent 2013: $1,068 2003: $789 Source: CMHC / BuzzBuzzHome

  • Halifax - up 35.6%

Average 2-bedroom rent 2013: $976 2003: $720 Source: CMHC / BuzzBuzzHome

  • Winnipeg - up 50.2%

Average 2-bedroom rent 2013: $969 2003: $645 Source: CMHC / BuzzBuzzHome

  • Calgary - up 52.2%

Average 2-bedroom rent 2013: $1,224 2003: $804 Source: CMHC / BuzzBuzzHome

  • Edmonton - up 58%

Average 2-bedroom rent 2013: $1,141 2003: $722 Source: CMHC / BuzzBuzzHome

  • Regina - up 72.8%

Average 2-bedroom rent 2013: $1,018 2003: $589 Source: CMHC / BuzzBuzzHome

  • What $390,000 Will Buy You Across The Country

The average price of a house in Canada in the fall of 2013 was about $390,000. Here's what that amount will buy you in the country's various real estate markets.

Trois-Rivieres is one of the most affordable housing markets in Canada, and here the average house price will get you something close to a palace. Three bedrooms and some pretty awesomely fitted-out bathrooms in this 2,000-square-foot home.

This 580-square-foot cottage is located in Toronto's inner east end and has one bedroom on the main floor and a second in the basement. It may be small, but it's actually sort of remarkable that you can still buy a standalone house anywhere in the 416 for under $400,000. Listed at $389,000.

This custom-built split-level house on the east side of Regina has 1,800 square feet of floor space, and features a family with room with a fireplace.

At 548 square feet, this loft condo is only slightly smaller than that cottage in Toronto. But it's certainly slicker; it's located in yuppie-ish Yaletown and features a stainless-steel appliance kitchen with a movable island. Listed for $384,000.

$388,000 will get you this house with four bedrooms and as many fireplaces in charming little Summerside (PEI). A whopping 4,464 square feet of floor space on a half-acre lot makes this easily the largest home on this list.

Fort McMurray, the heart of Alberta's oilsands, may be a small city, but thanks to enormous oil business salaries, it has real estate prices like a big city. This two-bedroom condo on the south side of town features oak cabinets and a gas fireplace, and lists for $393,500.

According to the CMHC, the average price for a two-bedroom apartment across the country was $920 in October, up 2.5 per cent over the past year.

Vancouver had the priciest market in the country, with two-bedroom apartments going for $1,281, beating out second-place Calgary, where two-bedrooms went for $1,224 on average. Toronto came in third, at $1,213.

A decade ago, Toronto rents were the highest in the country and about 8 per cent higher than second-place Vancouver.

Toronto's booming condo market could explain some of the relative weakness in rental rates. With condos coming online at a faster clip than population growth, the supply of apartment housing in Toronto has been increasing.

The CMHC estimates that slightly less than a quarter of Toronto's condo stock is now part of the rental market.

The Huffington Post Canada  |  Posted: 12/18/2013 2:29 pm EST