When an individual goes to university, they should first be worried about making friends, then their program and classes, and maybe even midterms and final grades. University is also the first phase where students are learning to live on their own, and that means finding a place to live. For U of T students located in Toronto, the housing market makes it harder to find a home than if they were located outside of the city.

The Annex is a prominent area for students to live near the St. George campus. LEXEY BURNS/ THE VARSITY

According to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB), the average cost for a one-bedroom condo in Toronto in 2022 was $2,481 — up by 20.4 per cent from 2021. Meanwhile, the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment rent jumped by 14.5 per cent to $3,184.

The realistic upstairs neighbour. LEXEY BURNS/THE VARSITY

Not only is the rental market facing an all time high for demand, creating skyrocketing prices and rental scams, but U of T student residences have also become part of the issue. 

Convenience at a cost. LEXEY BURNS/THE VARSITY

Despite the foreboding thoughts in regard to the availability and affordability of housing in Toronto, the hype around the city is well deserved. Strong education, a fun nightlife, and plenty of culture allow any person, regardless of their domestic or international status, to feel at home. 

One of the appeals about Toronto is that you’ll never know who you’re going to meet. The population of Toronto is currently sitting just above 2.7 million, which totals 4,334 people per square kilometre. To accommodate this, people are essentially living on top of one another. It seems as though the days of backyards and driveways are long gone. 

Personification of a place. LEXEY BURNS/THE VARSITY

The CN tower peeks through from afar. LEXEY BURNS/THE VARSITY

An old brick house near U of T campus. LEXEY BURNS/THE VARSITY

Houses down Huron Street, near UTSG. LEXEY BURNS/THE VARSITY

To balance out the expenses of living in one of the most densely populated areas in Ontario, home owners and residents are leasing out basements or rooms to afford rent or mortgage prices. 

On a budget, it’s common to see students applying for space in other people’s homes, and sharing kitchens, bathrooms, and sometimes bedrooms with people they’ve never met before, just so they can be in the city. 

Finding housing requires a creative solution. Almost no one’s housing situation is clean cut and straightforward, and therefore, it is essential for U of T to be creative when addressing the ongoing housing crisis. Housing situations can make or break someone’s mental well-being, and this situation cannot and should not be taken lightly, unless you’re the Reddit person living in Robarts. 

I wanted to prove a point that Toronto’s housing goes a lot deeper than the surface. There’s a sense of community that stems from the houses in the U of T area — not just living above or below people, but having neighbours as friends who come over for game nights on Fridays or you chat with on the sidewalk. It’s everybody having a life of their own and you being a part of it in some way. It’s the potential to be rooted where pieces of the globe have gathered in one city, and your ability to experience it all. 


Restricted access: how students feel unwelcome in the housing market of their parents. LEXEY BURNS/THE VARSITY

A small apartment complex near the University of Toronto. LEXEY BURNS/THE VARSITY