The Re-Growth of Windsor’s Rental Market Post-Pandemic

Canada’s housing market has seen an incredible increase in the past couple of years, and Windsor is certainly no exception — on the contrary, Windsor’s rental market, in particular,  experienced a sharp spike in the past year with the region posting the largest increases in the nation for two-bedroom apartments and second highest for a one bedroom.

According to the Zumper Canadian Rent Report, which collects rental data from the country’s 24 most populous regions, the monthly cost of the average two-bedroom apartment in Windsor increased 24.6 percent to $1,420 over the past 12 months, and a one-bedroom now goes for $1,130, an increase of 18.9 percent.

One reason for the incredible boom in Windsor’s rental market is the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused an exodus of people from the Toronto region opting to work remotely from more affordable communities —  because while Windsorites are actively concerned about the revenue of affordable housing getting smaller and smaller, the fact is, we’re still one of the most affordable regions in the country.

Adding to the competition in affordable rentals, school is back in session. The west end region in particular is now filled with students who are back for in-person classes, and need affordable places to live. And with the onset of the pandemic canceling in-person classes last year, many property owners took advantage and converted their properties that were often previously rented to students into single family homes resulting in no availability when classes came back for students. Now, students are back and need housing. Affordable room boarding doesn’t exist anymore, leaving them to search out other options such as sharing single family homes or apartments. The inventory shortage then continues to trickle down, and now, there’s a lack of inventory for single families.

The only way out of this, it seems, is to increase inventory, and thankfully, the City of Windsor, as well as neighbouring communities, are actively investing in just that.

A committee of council gave an enthusiastic endorsement a couple of weeks ago to an innovative plan by the owner of Tecumseh Mall to build five residential towers on an unused corner of its 44-acre property. With hopes to get shovels in the ground by early spring, a total of 390 residential units is expected; the five-building development may well be just the start. Similar malls in other Ontario cities are also adding residential projects, creating mixed-use properties that give the stores and restaurants nearby customers and give residents handy access to the services they need.

Additionally, through the Rental Financing Construction Initiative, the federal government has provided a $25.27-million loan to Valente Development Corp. to help build a 99-unit rental project in Tecumseh that will include an affordable housing component. The town of Tecumseh is also providing a $100,000 grant through its Community Improvement Program and some tax incentives over the next five years. The six-story building will be located at 11870 Tecumseh Road East. It will feature 31 units with rents affordable, at or below 30% of household median income in the area. The intent is to grow rental inventory that is affordable, accessible, and energy efficient.

Construction began last fall, and new tenants are expected to be welcomed through the front doors by spring of 2022. The project is the first of its kind in the region in which the federal government has partnered with a private developer.

Currently, there are 5,800 people on the waiting list for affordable housing in Windsor-Essex; and as long as both federal and local agencies keep getting more hands on, we can start to chip away at that waiting list, and get people and families in homes.

Windsor’s rental market growth isn’t stopping at multi-unit apartment buildings. The city has seen tremendous growth in new-build single family homes as well. For the past couple of years, a record number of building permits have been issued in the city, coming to a peak in 2019 at 3,400.The City of Windsor was one of the municipalities in Ontario that managed to continue to issue permits throughout the pandemic year of 2020 unlike some other very large cities which ended up shutting down their operations. In total, 3100 permits were issued during 2020, adding up to over $392 million dollars worth of construction.

So far in 2021, things have leveled off a bit, as supply chains have been disrupted. The inability to get material is really bottlenecking the new-build-progress and contractors and developers are being advised to expect months and months of severe delays.

That said, Windsor is still pushing forward. Through the struggles of the past year and a half, we’ve continued and will keep continuing to build. Windsor-Tecumseh Liberal MP Irek Kusmierczyk has expressed hope that Valente’s example in private companies partnering with the government will spur more interest to tap into federal financial support.

However we go about it, the facts are clear: Windsor’s rental market is only growing, and we’re so excited and proud to be a part of it.

If you’re looking for a rental home, check out our website at www.mardamanagement.com. Subscribe to our youtube channel to virtually walk through all of our current rental listings, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram so you never miss a chance to find your next home.

If you’re a property owner in need of management services, call MARDA Management today at 519-255-RENT, or email us at info@mardamanagement.com.

Sources:

https://windsorstar.com/news/local-news/five-six-storey-residential-buildings-endorsed-for-tecumseh-mall

https://www.iheartradio.ca/am800/news/new-building-construction-in-windsor-booming-despite-pandemic-1.15424051

https://windsorstar.com/news/federal-loan-of-25-27-million-backs-tecumseh-affordable-housing-initiative

https://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2020/schl-cmhc/NH12-91-2020-eng.pdf