Edmonton: Higher Vacancy Rates, but Less Affordable Rent

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The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) recently released their spring Rental Market Survey comparing the rental market in April 2007 versus April 2008, and the results are fairly interesting. The average apartment rental vacancy rate (taken from Canada’s 35 major centres) decreased from 2.8% in 2007 to 2.6% in 2008. That means that it’s getting harder to find an apartment to rent throughout Canada as a whole.

In Edmonton, however, we have seen the vacancy rate increase from 1.1% in 2007 to 3.4% in 2008. Although this is good news, average monthly rents for two-bedroom apartments are increasing in Edmonton at a significant rate – from 2007 to 2008 there was a 13.7% increase (from an average rent amount of $877 to $1,000). All things being said, you’ll likely get better value for your money if you purchase a home as opposed to renting – especially now that the Edmonton housing market has started to cool a bit.

Editor’s Note I think increased vacancy will lead to lower rent prices within 6 months. It’s basic economics. Too many property investors are stuck with condos they can’t sell, and there are more on the way as builders finish up. They’ll have to be rented out. Rents and prices will have to come down. So much for the need to impose rent controls. Happily our political masters didn’t succumb to that bit of bad policy. —GM

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