6 Surprising Things You Didn’t Know About CMHC’s Alberta Rental Market Report

CMHC (the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) is one of the few organizations with the resources to publish meaningful and comprehensive statistics on regional real estate. Their Spring 2010 Rental Market Report came out the other day (you can the Alberta Highlights here, PDF, opens in a new window) and it makes for interesting, if dry, reading.

There’s no surprise that vacancy is up a little bit, but the regional variances are pretty significant. (Click to open full size images)

Vacancy rates changed relatively little in Edmonton and Calgary, but this graph shows the huge changes in Red Deer, Medicine Hat, Wood Buffalo and Grande Prairie. The city level stats hide the fact that several property types are doing much better than average.

The average rents went down a little bit in all areas except Lethbridge, but that’s also a detailed local occurance. Remember to drill into the numbers. If you’ve made it this far without downloading your own copy and reading it all, go do it. It still boggles my mind how expensive things are up in Fort Mac, but that’s another blog post.

I like a good map. This is a pretty simple one. I’m sure CMHC can do better with data visualization, but then again they’re a government agency. Couldn’t we even go to the effort of making the arrows different sizes?

This one shocked me, and made me happy because I like buying 3 bedroom + properties. In Edmonton the vacancy rate for 3bed+ properties dropped from 13.2% to 5.3%, and the rate for batchelor pads went down from 4.9% to 4.1%. That’s the stuff that makes my investors happy.

Average rents by bedroom type carried one other surprise, the drop in batchelor prices in Calgary. I think the 2009 prices were more an artifact of the overheated run last year and the lack of inventory. Edmonton prices have changed very little.

And statistical significance is a topic I’m going to be getting into more in the future. What this last chart shows is that, statistically speaking there was no real change in rents, except for 2-bedrooms. That’s also a very competitive room type, so there’s a lot of moving pieces.

Whatever is happening with the market, there’s no reason your units have to sit vacant. Use smarter advertising, renovate your properties appropriately and be willing to put in the extra 10%.

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