In 2012, we owned up to four student rental properties in Guelph at one time. We paid an average of about $225,000 for each and they monthly cashflow of an average of about $500 per month.

Over time, as we needed the money we sold them off one by one until 2015.  In retrospect, we missed both the run up of the 2017 and 2021 real estate market in Guelph.

Those properties would probably have propelled us into early retirement if we just held onto them into today’s super hot real estate market.

But, is there still opportunity for rental properties out there today?

In short, yes. But you’ll need to be quick, as well as patient (if that makes sense!).

It’s worth giving a bit of an overview into the current residential real estate market in Guelph. The reason is because it directly impacts the rental market.

You’ll need to be quick because The Guelph rentals market may have new opportunity. 2019 saw the highest average sales price ever for homes in Guelph’s real estate market: an increase of nearly 5% versus 2018. This, contributing to an overall dollar volume (adding all sales together) hike of just over 12% in 2019.

With rising housing prices in Guelph, more people are either forced to rent. Or, they have made the decision to rent in the Royal City. Renting is not a bad option – many believe the benefits of homeownership are over rated. High costs associated with maintaining a home can be a deal breaker, especially for first time home buyers.

Renting also provides a more flexible lifestyle for those who travel. If you are looking for the ideal neighbourhood before purchasing, renting buys you time.

However, limited options and rental prices are creating challenges for those who want to rent.

A recent report published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives are alarming. It reveals that a person would need to earn at least $21 per hour to rent a two-bedroom apartment in Guelph. Meeting this requirement can be difficult for many, including small and single-parent families.

Even students are feeling the pinch. We did a quick search of rental units on thecannon.ca, a site co-owned by the Central Student Association and the Guelph Campus Co-operative. As a result, it showed room rates ranging anywhere from $550-$750 for a single room.

This can cause further stress on students. They need to work to afford their housing while studying, or on many parents who are paying the bills. Where feasible, some parents are choosing to take equity of their homes in the form of a HELOC to help their children. This also doubles as an investment for the parents who can sell the property once the child finishes school.

According to the Guelph CMHC rental market report, Guelph’s vacancy rate of 1.4% is almost half of the national average of 2.4%. The draw of the university, a strong local job market and proximity to Toronto are all factors. And, it’s is putting pressure on both Guelph homebuyers and renters alike.

So, what do we do to encourage Guelph rentals?

To address a lean rental market, homeowners can consider creating an accessory apartment if they have extra space. This could provide both additional income and increasing the rental housing stock in Guelph. We wrote an article addressing what is now referred to as house hacking

Accessory apartments are permitted in most single-detached and semi-detached homes. Generally, if zoned as residential single detached (R1), and residential semi-detached /duplex it would be an option.

To be considered legal, an accessory apartment must be inspected and registered by the city as a two-unit house. It must also meet requirements of the City of Guelph Zoning By-Law. And, either the Ontario Building Code or the Ontario Fire Code, as per City of Guelph Building Services.

A note for renters of Guelph properties:

If you are considering Guelph rentals, it’s your right to live in a safe space. Some questions you should consider asking your landlord include:

  • Are there working smoke alarms on every level and outside every sleeping area? Note: Houses built after 2013 must also have a smoke alarm on every level
  • Do you have working carbon monoxide alarms installed (if applicable)?
  • Is there a plan to have two safe ways to get out of the unit in case of a fire?
  • If you or your housemate(s) sleep in the basement: Is there a big enough window or door leading directly outside so you can get out in case of a fire?
  • Does your building has more than four bedrooms and sharing one kitchen?  is it certified with the City?
  • Two separate kitchens: is it registered with the City?

The Guelph housing market can thrive. If there is both a healthy stock of owned and Guelph rentals, everyone wins. Accessory apartments are a creative solution for existing homeowners. They can support the rental market while earning additional income.

If you’re considering transitioning from renting to buying, contact Beth and Ryan’s team. As Guelph realtors, we know the local market and best opportunities.

Source: GDAR City of Guelph, Residential home data 2015-19.