A growing number of Canadians are now renting in order to stay in larger urban centres, or because they don’t want to be locked into a large purchase decision. To help uncover what renter’s want, Zolo conducted a rental property survey. We asked almost 900 renters to tell us what they wanted in a rental home, what rental features are important and to assess their overall commitment to being a life-long renter.
Here’s what we found:
Not surprisingly, most renters are millennials (51%), while 19% of renters fell into the Gen X camp, and another 17% fell into the Gen Z cohort (the generation after millennials).
Only a small segment of renters was aged 45 or older, with only 1% reporting that they were aged 65 or older.
About 41% of renters remained in the same rental home for three years or longer; quite surprisingly 9% of these renters stayed in the same rental unit for 10 or more years.
- 0 to 1 years: 17%
- 1 to 3 years: 42%
- 3 to 5 years: 17%
- 5 to 7 years: 11%
- 7 to 9 years: 3%
- 10+ years: 9%
What’s most important when looking for a rental?
The most significant factor to influence a renter’s decision about a rental unit was price, with 73% of respondents reporting that they stayed right on budget, 19% reporting that they found a unit that was under their budget and 8% said they went over budget. It’s fair to say that pricing and budget is one of the most important rental features when deciding on a place to live.
But what monthly rental rate were renters willing to pay?
- 14% had a maximum rental budget of less than $500
- 35% had a rental budget that was between $500 and $999
- 28% had a rental budget that was between $1,000 and $1,499
- 13% had a rental budget that was between $1,500 and $1,999
- 5% had a rental budget that was between $2,000 and $2,499
- 2% had a rental budget that was between $2,500 and $2,999
- 2% had a rental budget of $3,000 or more
Rental rates aside, there are other features, both in the home and the community, that renters want.
The “must-have” features renters looked for in a rental home included:
- A rental unit that was pet-friendly (47%)
- An updated kitchen (37%)
- A master bedroom with an ensuite (37%)
- Updated or newer model furnace and A/C units (31%)
- A garage (28%)
On the other hand, the features renters cared less about was whether or not the home had a mudroom (65%) or pool (53%) or an in-law suite (47%) or if the home provided accessibility features for those with mobility issues (42%).
Renters are also picky about the location of a rental unit — favouring some community features over others. Asked to rate how important each neighbourhood feature was (and allowed multiple responses), 42% reported wanting a rental that was close to work while 34% of respondents want to be close to public transit. Other big draws were rental accommodations that were close to family and friends or schools (both 31%) or close proximity to nearby community stores (29%).
Will you always be a renter?
Turns out the vast majority of renters (83%) plan on buying a home, and relatively soon.
- 41% of renters plan to buy property in the next 1 to 3 years
- 26% of renters plan to buy in the next 3 to 5 years
- 12% of renters plan to buy within the year
- 11% of renters plan to buy in six to 10 years
- 10% of renters plan to buy a decade or more from now
For many renters, the biggest obstacle to purchasing their own home is saving up. Turns out 34% believe they need a larger down payment, while 14% cannot buy because they do not qualify for a mortgage; another 14% are in the process of repairing their credit score, while 12% cited the “lack of affordable housing options” as their main obstacles to taking a leap into homeownership.