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‘It’s definitely a crisis’: Edmonton rental rates steadily climbing, report says

A recent rental report says rates in Edmonton have been steadily increasing over the last four months.
A recent rental report says rates in Edmonton have been steadily increasing over the last four months. Supplied: Capital Region Housing

A recent rental report says rates in Edmonton have been steadily increasing over the last four months.

According to rentals.ca, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Edmonton increased by 1.1 per cent in January over December to $1,093 a month, and up 0.5 per cent to $1,306 for a two-bedroom apartment.

CEO of rentals.ca Matt Danison said that supply and demand is a big factor in the rates increases, with vacancy rates just not where they need to be.

Another factor, Denison said, is immigration. “Those immigrants are looking where to settle and sometimes Toronto and Vancouver are way out of their price range to be able to secure a job and afford a place to live,” he said.

“So they’re looking to other markets such as Edmonton that are a little more affordable.”

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The federal government announced in 2017 a national housing strategy designed to invest tens of billions of dollars in planned and expected spending over the next decade, and the government of Alberta announced in 2018 $49.6 million for affordable housing.

And while governments and municipalities are trying to help with the affordable housing situation Danison said some people are still paying 30, 40, 50 per cent of their income towards rent.

“It’s definitely a crisis, and Edmonton is part of it and I hope it changes soon,” Danison said, “but it really just comes down to supply. Until that supply hits Edmonton and starts popping up in Edmonton through different initiatives, we’re expecting still to see some continued rental rates in Edmonton over this year.”

READ MORE: CMHC says it wants every Canadian in an affordable home by 2030

The good news is that Edmonton is still affordable compared to places like Toronto and Vancouver, which Danison said is projected to see an 11 per cent increase and a 7 per ce increase respectively.

Of 25 cities listed on rentals.ca’s national rent rankings for February, six were in Alberta.

The rankings were based on the average rent price of vacant one bedroom units.

The highest ranked city in Alberta was Fort McMurray at #12 with an average rental price of $1,249 a month.

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The lowest ranked Alberta city was Lethbridge at #25 with an average rental price of $888 a month.

Edmonton came in at #17 with an average price of $1,093 a month, up 1.1% from January.

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So if someone is looking for a new rental, Danison’s advice is not to rush.

“Look for a good deal, and start your search three months in advance,” Danison said. “That should give you enough time to hopefully find something that meets your needs and is a good situation.”