Alberta rents among the most affordable in Canada: report

Alberta cities are among the least expensive when it comes to residential rental property in the country, according to a new report.

The average Canadian property was listed for $1,954 per month in September just topping the previous high-water mark for the year of $1,953 in June, according to the October National Rent Report produced by and Bullpen Research & Consulting.

Of 34 cities surveyed in Canada, six Alberta cities were in the lower half of the rankings for average monthly rent.

The report said Toronto continued to lead the country with average monthly rent for a one-bedroom home at  $2,304 and for a two-bedroom at $2,908.

Here are the overall rankings for Alberta cities and average monthly rents for one- and two-bedroom apartments:

  • Fort McMurray, $1,251, $1,289;
  • Calgary, $1221, $1,432;
  • Edmonton, $1,059, $1,293;
  • Red Deer, $1,049, $1,182;
  • Grande Prairie, $1,048, $1,251; and
  • Lethbridge, $917, $1,014.
Ben Myers, president of Bullpen Research & Consulting
Ben Myers
President of Bullpen Research & Consulting

“Housing affordability continues to be a hot button issue with voters going into the federal election,” said Ben Myers, president of Bullpen Research & Consulting. “And potential policy changes that would make it easier for first time-buyers to purchase a home may take pressure off the rental market, which continues to rise nationally, despite the market softness in the prairie provinces.”

Many of parties running in the Oct. 21 federal election have outlined plans for further housing market intervention, whether that be scrapping the mortgage stress test, allowing for 30-year amortizations, expanding the first-time buyer shared-equity program, or implementing a nationwide foreign buyers tax, said the report.

“Three of the four will increase ownership housing demand, while the fourth may reduce housing demand and reduce housing supply, as foreign buyers have purchased pre-construction homes and helped developers secure the necessary pre-sale requirements to qualify for construction financing at many high-rise condo projects in Toronto and Vancouver. Overall, these measures will likely reduce rental demand as first-time buyers leave the rental market with help or additional credit to buy (which ultimately drives up ownership costs further),” it said.

“Providing incentives is the only way developers can make the numbers work on rental in many Canadian markets, but its impact on affordability and rental rates may be small. As RBC reported, the markets in Canada’s major cities are already significantly undersupplied, and much of the new construction is only making up for past shortfalls. Rent subsidies will increase demand in the rental market, and may also result in tenants seeking out larger apartments than they could normally afford. In conclusion, the housing measures proposed won’t likely be able to restore the balance between supply and demand in British Columbia and Ontario, as demand continues to be held up by strong population growth.

“Between July 2018 and July 2019, Canada’s population grew by a whopping 531,000 people according to Statistics Canada — that’s roughly one person every minute. The annual growth rate was 1.4 per cent, the highest among G7 countries. As we know, these increases are driven mainly by immigration (82 per cent of the total). The growth rate was even higher in Ontario at 1.7 per cent. Expect to continue to see rent growth outside of the western provinces.”

© Troy Media

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