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Calgary rental housing market rebounds from recession’s lows

The rental housing market in the Calgary census metropolitan area (CMA) looked very different in October 2018 than it did in October 2017, showing a year-over-year decline in overall vacancy rates in the primary rental market from 6.3 percent to 3.9 percent, according to the annual Rental Market Report from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC).

The decline comes despite an increase in the rental supply and can be attributed for the most part to new arrivals to the CMA.

“A resurgence of migration, particularly from interprovincial sources, has increased the demand for rental units, resulting in significantly lower vacancy rates and rising rents in Calgary,” says James Cuddy, senior analyst, economics at CMHC. “This is the second consecutive year of declining vacancy rates, representing a significant tightening of the rental market. Supply in the primary rental market continued to post strong gains in 2018, growing by 3.7 percent.”

In the report, Cuddy says the purpose-built rental apartment universe increased by 1,407 units from 38,160 in October 2017 to 39,567 in October 2018, however, “demand outpaced supply whereby 2,268 additional units were occupied in October 2018 compared to last year.”

From January to October, 8,200 jobs were added to the Calgary CMA, an increase of one percent from the same period in 2017, says Cuddy.

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Continued sluggishness in economy benefiting Calgary’s rental market, study suggests

Renters beware. Finding a new rental in the city is becoming more challenging, and that’s largely due to the ongoing struggles of the provincial economy.

A recent quarterly report by Urban Analytics that tracks the new multi-family market in the city for both rentals and condominiums points to tightening rental conditions in Calgary.

“Right now we’re seeing 95 per cent occupancy in Calgary’s new, purpose-built rental market,” says Kimberly Poffenroth, business development manager with Urban Analytics.

From the renter’s perspective that’s a five per cent vacancy rate among purpose-built, multi-family rentals constructed in the past six years.

The vacancy rate, however, is flat from the second quarter that ended in June 30, but it’s higher than the first quarter of 2018 and the last quarter of 2017. Despite the tightening conditions, rental rates — what tenants pay — fell by 2.1 per cent in the third quarter (July 1 to Sept. 30) from the previous quarter. In dollar terms, the average square foot rent fell from $1.96 in the second quarter to $1.92 in Q3. By contrast, the average price in the last quarter of 2017 was $1.82 per square foot. Rates remained highest in the city centre where supply is short while on the edges of the city, renters have more choice, especially when it comes to wood-frame rentals and townhomes. Consequently rents in these areas tend to be lower.

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Rent expected to go up by 4% in Calgary this year: report

Despite being in an economic downturn, renters in Calgary can expect to be handing more money over to their landlords this year.

According to a new report from, the average rent in Calgary is set to increase by four per cent in 2019.

“You’d think there’d be a correlation — if home prices are declining, that we’d see maybe the decline in rent rates as well,” the site’s CEO Matt Danison said.

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Calgary’s rental market stages a comeback

Calgary’s rental market appears to be experiencing a comeback after a years-long slump, with new data showing the vacancy rate has fallen for a second straight year, while average rents have risen for the first time since the recession.

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp. reported 1,400 new rentals were built in Calgary over the past year, bringing the total stock to almost 40,000 units.

But a surge in demand for apartments was far stronger than the growth in supply. The CMHC said Calgary’s vacancy rate dropped to 3.9 per cent in October, down from 6.3 per cent a year earlier.

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