Last October, Calgary recorded an apartment vacancy rate of 1.3 per cent and the level is expected to stay that low in 2013.
Senior market analyst Richard Cho with the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corportaion (CMHC) says the search won’t get easier any time soon for people looking to rent apartments in Calgary.
Due to growth in Calgary’s population for reasons like employment opportunities, more people are looking to rent instead of committing to buy, pushing the vacancy rate to its lowest since 2006, when it dipped below one per cent.
“With vacancy rates moving lower, it will probably take a bit more time for renters to find a place,” Cho said.
During Fall of 2012 Calgary had the third lowest vacancy rate in the country among major centres, behind Thunder Bay, 1.1 per cent, and Regina, one per cent.
Casey Tucker, a 20-year-old industrial medic who began looking for an apartment last fall, found out the hard way that renting in the city has become increasingly difficult.
For seven months Tucker contacted an estimated 100 listings for an apartment.
“It’s definitely ruined the actual excitement of moving out,” she says.
Cho recommends that renters look at options in the secondary rental market, such basement suites and condos.
“With vacancy rates moving lower, it definitely does put some pressure on rent,” said Cho.
In October, the average rent for a two bedroom apartment was $1,150, with an expected $50 increase expected in October, 2013.
Tucker, who rents in the southwest, pays $1,279 per month for her one-bedroom apartment, including utilities.
“I thought you could get a penthouse for that kind of money,” Tucker jokes, admitting that she does live in a nice area, but said she thought the rent would be closer to $1,000 a month.
Tucker advised that renters to “apply for everything” they see and if they get approved for several, you will get a selection.
“I would encourage renters to start looking early to find a place,” Cho recommends.