If you live in Lethbridge and you’re paying more for rent, you may not be alone.
According to Rentals.ca’s National Rent Report — based on monthly listings on its website — the average year-over-year cost for a one-bedroom apartment in Lethbridge is up nine per cent compared to last May, with an average monthly rent of $1,043. For a two-bedroom unit, the monthly cost is $1,210, a year-over-year increase of 14.2 per cent.
One local realtor and property manager sees higher expenses for landlords now falling to renters.
“Largely due to inflation and a couple other factors, so we see cost increasing on things like utilities, especially gas prices lately,” said Chris Jochem, a Braemore Management Ltd. realtor and property manager.
“Insurance premiums are going up as well.”
Jochem added that low vacancy rates are also impacting the rental search.
He said the city’s vacancy rate — historically around five per cent — is currently two to three per cent, and he doesn’t expect that to change in the near future.
“Fewer people are going to be able to own a home because of these increasing interest rates and costs,” Jochem said. “I see a little bit less inventory and less options on the market and a lot more people that are going to be renting and not owning.
“That’s just going to put a lot more demand on the rental market.”
That’s having an impact on the city’s student population. The University of Lethbridge Students’ Union (ULSU) is hearing multiple concerns about off-campus housing.
“It’s not within the price range that a lot of students are able to afford, or it’s not necessarily in an area that’s desirable,” ULSU vice-president academic Gage DeSteur said.
DeSteur said rental rates are making students take a hard look at their budgets.
“It forces the student to make the choice between whether or not they want to live somewhere that’s a quality house, that’s nice, near the university and easy to commute, versus maybe spending that money on something else — tuition… or groceries even” DeSteur said.
DeSteur recommended students begin looking at housing options soon to avoid a potential rush ahead of the fall semester.