The cost to rent a home or apartment is rising in Lethbridge.
That’s according to Rentals.ca’s January 2022 national rent report, which says the average monthly price of a one-bedroom apartment in the city is $994 — a 4.6 per cent increase year-over-year.
It’s even more for a two-bedroom unit, which has increased by 6.7 per cent to $1,180. The report is compiled using the website’s listing data.
“Rents are low compared to the rest of the country, but have actually moved up pretty significantly year-over-year,” Rentals.ca content director Paul Danison said.
Braemore Management CEO and broker Matthew Hemmerling says increased costs for property owners, particularly insurance, are now being downloaded by renters.
“Landlords certainly, they’re not coming out on top,” Hemmerling said.
“If you’re looking at how that rent has increased over the past year, I would certainly say that’s a similar increase to the cost of being able to operate a rental.”
The city is also seeing high demand.
“Our portfolio is running below one per cent vacancy,” Hemmerling said. “Turnover is really quick: two weeks, less than a month usually.”
Danison believes there are many reasons why rental properties are such a hot commodity.
“Students have returned to campus last year…. that would put more people into the market. The resale market in Lethbridge has just been on fire. Last year, they set records in number of homes sold and prices are high,” Danison said.
“The rental market tends to follow that resale market.”
And Hemmerling expects those real estate trends to continue in 2022.
“The interest rate is set to go up this year. It won’t go up to an amount where it’s going to, in my opinion, impact the investment decision to go ahead and purchase a property,” he said.
While Lethbridge saw the second-highest year-over-year increase out of the five Alberta cities in Rentals.ca’s report, it still sits 31st nationally in average monthly rent out of the 35 municipalities ranked.