A new report shows rent in Edmonton continues to climb.
Alberta’s capital city has overtaken Calgary as the leader in rental accomodation inflation among the country’s largest markets, according to a recent report by rentals.ca.
Rents went up an average 17 percent annually, to an average of $1,479 for a one bedroom. By comparison, rents in Calgary continued to grow in January, up about 12 percent annually to an average of $2,047.
The report shows rents across the entire country increase an average 10 percent in January 2024 to an average of $2,196 for an apartment rental, an increase of 0.8% month-over-month, pushing the annual rate of rent growth to a four-month high.
The report shows Vancouver remains the most expensive rental market in Canada with an average asking rent of $3,055 for apartments.
According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) January Rental Market Report, “strong rental demand continued to outpace supply, resulting in tighter markets and lower affordability, across most major cities.”
The CMHC report shows the average price for a two-bedroom unit in Edmonton was $1,398, up approximately 6 per cent in 2023. The report also shows both Edmonton and Calgary saw declines in vacancy rates which averaged at about 3 per cent last year.
“This change indicates that in Alberta’s major markets, growth in rental demand was strong compared to growth in supply, in 2023, which is consistent with their relatively strong demographic and employment conditions,” the report said.
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The CMHC said rental demand outpaced supply forcing the overall vacancy rate for rental apartments to drop in 2023 to 2.4 percent from 4.3% in 2022, the lowest vacancy rate in almost a decade.
The report gave a number of reasons for tightening of the rental market for the second year in a row, including population growth, interprovincial migration, stable youth employment and fewer disruptions in economic activity.
The report recorded the lowest vacancy rates in north central Edmonton, Stony Plain, Jasper Place, and the university neighbhourhoods.
“It’s becoming harder for people to find living accommodations at reasonable prices and it’s going to get even harder to people to find a job to cover those expenses,” said Malik Shukayev, a professor of economics at the University of Alberta.
Shukayev said while there is short-term pain in finding reasonably priced rentals right now, he foresees more investment in construction of affordable homes in the long term.
“Once the supply catches up with demand, people will see more choices on the market and hopefully incomes will rise accordingly and people will eventually catch up,” Shukayev continued. “This is a signal to builders to start building rental accommodations in Edmonton. The labour market is doing really well in Edmonton and we have a lot of net migration.”
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