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Renters wanted: Calgary landlords remove ‘No’ from vacancy signs
Published Wednesday, August 12, 2015 5:37PM MDT
Last Updated Wednesday, August 12, 2015 6:52PM MDT
For the first time in a longtime, Calgarians in the market for rental accommodations find themselves in the driver’s seat when it comes to supply and demand.
After several months of falling oil prices, rental prices are becoming more affordable and vacancy signs are no longer the mythical occurrence of years past.
Data compiled from April 2015 places Calgary’s vacancy rate at 3.2 per cent, higher than Canada’s national average of 3.1 per cent.
Landlords say competition in the rental market is prompting a drop in listed rental prices.
“This is business and it’s a competitive business,” explains Gerry Baxter, executive director Calgary Residential Rental Association. “In order to remain competitive, you have to price yourself accordingly.”
“The market pretty much drives and guides what landlords can charge for their rents.”
Price corrections in the rental market are often delayed due to lease terms and rent prices increased during the winter of 2014/2015 while oil prices plummeted.
Mom-and-pop landlords are not the only ones feeling the squeeze of Calgary’s current rental climate.
Boardwalk Communities, which owns more than 5,000 apartment units in Calgary, is struggling to find tenants. The organization’s vacancy rate has doubled in the last year. In an attempt to entice potential renters, Boardwalk is offering a price discount on roughly a third of its apartment. Tenants who sign a one year lease will receive a discount of $100 per month.
According to David McIlveen, Boardwalk’s director of community development, there’s a vast contrast between the rental markets of 2014 and 2015.
“The suites were just turning over and people were moving right in with very little actual vacancy,” said McIlveen of 2014. “This year, we're seeing a little bit of vacancy.”
“That's good news for tenants because it’s a better market they have a little more choice and they can make a better deal.”
With files from CTV's Scott McLean