Apartment vacancy down in Edmonton and Calgary

EDMONTON – It’s a good time to be a landlord in Edmonton and Calgary right now, but not so good if you’re looking for somewhere affordable to live.

The vacancy rate in both cities is sitting at just 1.2 per cent.

“So that basically means, there’s one vacant apartment for, you know, per 100 apartments that are out there. And that’s definitely a landlord’s market. Rents have started going up,” explains John Kolkman of the Edmonton Social Planning Council.

The low demand has increased the average apartment price in Edmonton to $974 a month, which is up from $937 last year. The prices in Calgary are even higher.

“It seems like highway robbery to me,” says Erin Craig, who spent some time recently looking through Kijiji ads. “Sometimes it runs through my mind, ‘I think I can probably own a place for cheaper than I can rent.'”

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Craig ended up resigning her existing lease after her landlord agreed not to raise the price. She sympathizes for those still looking after her own experience.

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“It was a frustrating thing to find so few results that were actually suitable for us and then the ones that were there…you call and it’s like ‘no it’s been rented already,'” she says.

According to experts, the fact that the rental market is so tight is a sign our economy is doing well, thanks to people moving here to take advantage of higher-paying jobs.

But Kolkman adds that due to cuts by the provincial government, there is less money to construct affordable apartments, and also less money in the rent subsidy program – both of which he says have an impact on rent prices.

“The government needs to be looking at investing more in rent supplement programs. They also need to invest more in developing more subsidized rental accommodation that receives a partial government subsidy. Those funds have also dried up.”

A new development, Edgewater on Jasper, may offer prospective tenants some relief.

Edgewater on Jasper under construction; Vinesh Pratap, Global News. Vinesh Pratap, Global News

But in the meantime, Craig has this advice to fellow renters: keeping looking, and look well in advance.

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“Sometimes it will take more than just a month to find something that’s suitable. Kijiji changes every day, there’s always new postings. So you just have to kind of keep going and not let it frustrate you too much.”

You can find more information on Alberta’s rental market below:

With files from Vinesh Pratap, Global News

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