Back to School – Rent Costs Are Up Again


Prior to Labour Day weekend, I had the pleasure of packing up the car with school supplies and sporting gear, food and toiletries, numerous hoodies as well as boxes of yet to be assembled furniture including all sorts of screws and fasteners (none were missing, none came home), joining the parade of other parents driving their kids to university.  My kids are each embarking on another year at Queens University in Kingston, living off campus in shared homes with their friends.  


Ruby (left side) with roommates and friends

Sam (top right) with the boys


Rent was due the same day – my daughter Ruby chose a premium room in a house with six other friends, costing her $813 per month.  My son Sam is paying $638 per month in a house with five other friends.  This prompted me to reflect on my own university education, completed in London, Ontario in April 1990. I was writing cheques for $180 per month in September of my final year 34 years ago at Western, sharing a house with three other friends.  Rent has indeed gone up.  

Investigating this further, Canadian inflation (broad basket CPI) through that period is 109.68% in total, or 2.20% per year.  Applying the same CPI rate, Sam would be paying $377 per month towards rent.  

Reality in real estate presents a much different scenario.  While this is not an apples to apples comparison because of geographic location, increased demand, etc., the inflation rate from my final university year to Sam’s current year is 3.80% per year or 254% in total.  That’s a staggering increase in student rent costs.

From the other side of this equation, student landlords accept a fair amount of work and headache in order to reap these profits.  Free of headache and grief, investors in Centurion REIT and Alignvest Student Housing REIT are enjoying tax-effective income and capital growth.  

From my own perspective, paying rent each month for my two kids while living at Queens is all a part of being a parent.  Being an investor in REITS with investments in student housing reduces the financial burden and I don’t have to be concerned about that nasty cat smell or a leaky roof.  

Study hard, kids, and remember that you will be paying your own rent soon.