Rising Edmonton vacancy rates triggering sweet deals for renters

Looking to rent in Edmonton? Now's the time.

Vacancy rate almost doubles in last six months

Rising vacancy rates in Edmonton are bringing down rents and forcing landlords to offer incentives. (CBC)

Looking to rent in Edmonton? Now's the time. 

You might call it the perfect storm for renters in Edmonton.

A combination of low oil prices and an increased number of new homes on the market has created some good deals for Edmonton renters, with landlords and management companies offering some pretty sweet deals.

The city's chief economist, John Rose, says vacancy rates are currently sitting at 4.2 per cent, almost double the 2.4- per-cent rate in the spring.

It's clear that property owners and managers are wanting to fill their vacancies- Brent Daviduck, Rentboard.ca

"We've seen a lot of dedicated, multi-family rental units go up over the past year, year and a half, and that supply is finally hitting the market," said Rose. "As well, we've seen a bit of a slowdown in terms of net migration into Edmonton."

Both those factors can be linked to the price of oil.

Homes were built for the expected arrival of workers, but when the price of oil tanked, unemployment went up.

That's why landlord Mike Hanas decided to reduce his rental prices.

"Obviously we had quite a few people (from) outside of the province working up north, so we would get multiple viewings and would rent property for (a) higher price," said Hanas. "Now that's slowed down."

His company, Linhan Developments, manages eight rental properties in the city and it's now taking a lot longer to fill vacancies.

While it had been taking three to five business days to rent a property, it's now taking three to four weeks," said Hanas.

His online rental ads now open with the words "price reduced."

Big local management companies like Boardwalk are doing the same thing, offering incentives like reduced rents and security deposits — even free cable packages.

Brent Daviduck is with Rentboard.ca, a company that matches renters with landlords.

"It's definitely a renter's market; it's clear that property owners and managers are wanting to fill their vacancies," he said.

Daviduck said those looking for a rental property can afford to negotiate for deals from landlords.

"Some will negotiate, others will not, but you never know unless you ask," he said.


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