Rent in N.B. still among the cheapest in Canada, but it's going up


New Brunswick remained one of the cheapest places in Canada to rent an apartment in 2020, according to a new national survey – although the data was collected before several high-profile rent hikes took effect.

The annual survey, released Thursday, also does not account for all of the increases tenants in the province have been experiencing, including the loss of free utilities.

Still, Service New Brunswick Minister Mary Wilson released a statement saying she was pleased with the finding that rents in the province remain well below the national average.

"The average rent rates shows that New Brunswick still remains the second lowest rent rate in Canada and that is also good news for renters," said the statement.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's annual "Rental Market Survey" reported the average two-bedroom apartment in New Brunswick cost $892 per month to rent in October 2020, $50 more than one year earlier.

Prices for two-bedroom units ranged from a high of $979 per month in Fredericton to a low of $600 in Edmundston.

Those are both well below the national average price for a two-bedroom unit of $1,125, while rents in several major Canadian markets are substantially more than that.

"The average two-bedroom apartment rent was highest in Vancouver ($1,792), Toronto ($1,635), [and] Ottawa ($1,517)," said the report.

The survey supports comments made by Wilson in December and repeated Thursday that New Brunswick has some of the lowest rents in Canada.

But it also showed rents to be increasing faster than the province has been acknowledging, especially in the southeast.

In December, Wilson said she had been told by a major landlord that increases in the province in 2020 were barely matching inflation.

"Seventy-five per cent of tenants renewed their leases since the beginning of the pandemic and received an average rent increase of 1.8 per cent, well below the average increases in provinces with rent controls," Wilson said.