A new report says average rents across Canada were up one per cent between February and March - the first month-over-month increase since November.

The report by Rentals.ca and Urbanation released Thursday concluded the rental market reaccelerated in the spring after a brief moderation during the winter, bringing the average rent to $2,004 in March, a gain of 10.8 per cent compared with a year earlier.

“Spring arrived with a highly competitive rental market in Canada, driven by a record population increase of over one million people in the past year and low home ownership affordability after last year's spike in interest rates,” said Shaun Hildebrand, president of Urbanation, a real estate research firm.

“With supply unable to keep up with current levels of demand, expect further upward pressure on rents in the coming months.”

Rentals.ca, a listing site, and Urbanation believe rental housing demand is strongly outstripping supply because average asking rents increased by $196 over the last year.

Asking rents for purpose-built and condominium apartments increased 1.5 per cent from February and 10.9 per cent from the previous March, reaching an average of $1,937, they added.

Rent was steepest in Vancouver, where a one-bedroom home hit $2,743, up 3.9 per cent from February and 17.3 per cent from a year earlier. Two-bedroom properties reached an average $3,653, up less than one per cent from February and 21.5 per cent from March 2022.

Toronto trailed Vancouver with one-bedroom homes averaging $2,506, a less than one per cent increase from February but a 22.2 per cent increase from March 2022. The average two-bedroom home hit $3,286, down 0.8 per cent from February and up 19.7 per cent from a year prior.

At the other end of the spectrum, Lloydminster, Alta., had the lowest rent prices of the 35 cities Rentals.ca and Urbanation studied. A one-bedroom home was $820, up 0.7 per cent from February and 10.3 per cent from March 2022. Two-bedroom properties in the Alberta city were rented for an average $925, a 0.3 per cent decline from the month before, but an 8.4 per cent increase from March 2022.

However, when Rentals.ca and Urbanation looked at rental price growth, they found Calgary saw the fastest increases among Canada's largest markets for purpose-built and condo apartments.

Rent for purpose-built and condo apartments in Calgary was up 24.9 per cent annually to $1,890.

Toronto maintained its second place ranking with annual rent growth of 22.4 per cent in the category. Vancouver, the most expensive of Canada's largest markets, recorded annual rent growth of 18.7 per cent in March, pushing average asking rents up to $3,146.

All of Canada's six largest rental markets saw rents rise by more than 10 per cent over the past year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 13, 2023.