Calgary home rental market heats up in tandem with real estate sales

Calgary’s housing market continues to heat up with sales reaching record levels. That’s forcing some potential homebuyers to reconsider the rental market, but as Michael King reports, they’re being met with higher prices there as well.

As Calgary’s housing market continues to heat up, finding a place to rent is also becoming more competitive.

It’s to the point that prospective renters will put in offers to rent before even stepping foot inside the home.

“This property was listed this morning at about 10 a.m.,” Shamon Kureshi, CEO of property management company Hope Street told Global News while talking about a home.

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The property is a rare single-detached home for rent in Auburn Bay — at an elevated rate.

Within hours, seven people asked about it.

“Of those seven inquiries, three have been confirmed for showings and there was one application that was sent in from someone who’s willing to rent the property sight unseen because that’s the reality of the market that we’re in right now,” Kureshi said.

“It’s difficult to keep (homes) available for more than a few days. And in many cases, the properties are rented before the former tenants are moving out.

“So there’s no downtime and that’s positive for landlords, but it’s also quite a crunch for people looking to rent homes.”

It continues a trend the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation documented in its annual rental market report released in February, with rental vacancies dropping from 6.6 per cent in 2020 to 5.1 per cent last year.

“We will be expecting decreases in the vacancy rate to continue as that demand comes back to Calgary, as Calgary continues its economic recovery, as jobs continue to grow in Calgary,” said Michael Mak, a senior analyst in economics with the CMHC.

Mak noted that increased interest rates from the Bank of Canada will likely have a cooling effect on record-setting sales numbers, but he expects to see elevated sales through 2023.

Kureshi said some property owners who turned to rent their property during a soft real estate market are now reconsidering.

“What we’re seeing is that a lot of these landlords now are looking at the real estate sales market, which is on fire as we know, and it becomes very attractive to sell their property, cash out and move on,” he said. “However, the downside is that that takes out a huge chunk of available inventory in the rental market and it becomes a supply-and-demand curve.”

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The CMHC report noted areas like the Beltline have seen recent additions of apartments to the market.

But supply and demand are likely not the only factors impacting rent.

“From the perspective of rental rates, we feel like we’re at the base of a huge, long increase, and part of that is just going back 10 years,” Kureshi said. “There really hasn’t been any significant price growth in the rental industry in Alberta in the last decade, which it hasn’t kept in tune with inflation, construction, renovation, taxes.”

The Hope Street CEO had some simple advice for people looking to rent homes.

“If you’re looking to rent a house right now, you really have to be quick. You have to know exactly what you want. And when you see it, there isn’t really a whole lot of time to sit down and think about it or discuss it.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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