Calgary at a Crossroads

Real estate rental prices in Calgary are down and some say they may not be going back up any time soon.

Tamer Antar owns a two-bedroom condominium in Sunalta.

He used to get $1,750 a month from renters for his inner city property in southwest Calgary.

Antar listed it in December for only $1,600 and so far, he is not getting much interest.

"Last year this time you would post something … you would post your place and get responses right away, same day," Antar said.

He said all that has changed.

"I think I got three responses [last] month."

Antar is not alone.

Mark Hawkins owns a website that advertises rental properties in Calgary.

Mark Hawkins, owner of Rentfaster.ca

Mark Hawkins, owner of Rentfaster.ca, says rental pricing on his site has dropped between 11 and 18 per cent. (CBC)

He says rental pricing on RentFaster.ca is down 11 to 18 per cent from this time last year.

"As a person owning property, you're going to have some great years, you're going to have some good years and you're going to have some mediocre years," Hawkins told CBC News.

"We're in a mediocre year. So you just have to understand that, you have to react to the market."

Calgary's rental-housing vacancy rate shot up to 5.3 per cent in October. That is an almost four-fold increase over the same period a year ago, when the rate was 1.4 per cent.

That increase put Calgary in the rare position of being above the national average of 3.3 per cent for the same period.

So for landlord Tamer Antar, that means more competition for his rental property.

"It's a tough market right now, and it doesn't look like it's going to get any better any time soon," Antar said.

"So I would advise people to adjust their expectations as early as possible."

Antar's current tenant has decided to stay until summer, but if things don't improve Antar expects he may have to drop his price even further.

"At the end of the day, you want to have your place rented. If it sits unrented for a month or two, it's a big loss," Antar explained.

"If you can get a couple hundred bucks less, and get it rented right away, it's probably better off."


Calgary at a Crossroads is CBC Calgary's special focus on life in our city during the downturn. A look at Calgary's culture, identity and what it means to be Calgarian. Read more stories from the series at Calgary at a Crossroads.