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In the City of Leduc, rent for a two bedroom apartment is on average $1,086 per month, according to the Fall 2011 Rental Market Report published by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

The amount has increased from 2010 numbers, which saw the average rent for a two bedroom unit listed as $1,040. Experts state the increase in rent prices could be a result of the community growing, but some Leduc residents believe there should be a cap on the rent prices they believe are climbing too high.

“I’m a single parent who doesn’t qualify for housing subsidy and I can’t afford the minimum $1,200 per month for rent, plus utilities. I’m lucky that I can live with family but I don’t know where others, who are in the same situation, can go if they don’t qualify for subsidy,” said resident Shawna Wheatley, who commented on the Leduc Rep’s Facebook page. Wheatley’s sentiment was shared by at least three others commenting the average monthly rent is too expensive for one household income.

“How is a single person supposed to live with the rent being so high. It’s ridiculous,” said Sarah Wawizzle Moore on the Facebook page.

The report, which is published twice a year, listed the average rent prices for 18 other zones for the fall edition, some of which include the Edmonton region, Fort Saskatchewan and Spruce Grove. Comparatively to parts of Edmonton, Leduc’s rent prices for one, two and three bedroom apartments are slightly higher than most Edmonton areas.

For example, a two bedroom unit in the West zones, which include areas such as Mill Woods, the average rent price was $1,010, compared to Leduc’s $1,086 in 2011. Overall, the average for a two bedroom apartment in Edmonton is listed as $1,036 per month, $50 lower than Leduc’s monthly rent according to the report.

Experts said the difference could be a number of reasons. Some include the location of the Edmonton apartments, the age of the units and the rental market.

“If we look at rent levels, the overall rent levels are a little above the overall metro area average. This is probably due to quality, newer product in the marketplace. The overall average in Edmonton is probably older, maybe not in as good condition, so it’s not going to drive as good as price and it’s a relatively tight market. That means landlords can charge a relatively premium price as opposed to a place that has vacancies in parts of Edmonton,” said Richard Goatcher, senior market analyst for CMHC.

Although units in Leduc may run a little higher than the capital city’s, the overall vacancy rate in Leduc is relatively low, said housing experts.

According to the housing corporation’s report, the vacancy rate in Leduc was 2.4 per cent for one bedrooms, 3.6 per cent for two bedrooms and zero for three bedroom apartments in fall 2011.

Overall, Leduc has seen an increase in the number of apartment units in the city, with 869 units in 2011, an increase from 2010’s 774 units available in Leduc.

Although there is an increase in the number of units in the city, property owners are seeing their units filling up quickly, with many people willing to pay the monthly rent prices in exchange for a roof over their heads.

“Our vacancy rate in Leduc is zero. We have a fair number of rentals in Leduc and surrounding and in the last 17 years in Leduc, I don’t think it was ever beyond five per cent vacancy and of course, we are at zero right now,” said Bill Begley, property manager, whose company Inland Property Management looks after 100 properties in the city, including condos. Begley believes the average monthly rent estimate stated by the CMHC is an appropriate average.

“Rents are so dependant on what a particular unit is and where it is located. Offhand the $1,086 [for a two bedroom] is not that far off.”

Edgewood Estates manager Joanne Ross agreed, saying the apartments in their 10 year old building are often “snatched up” despite the fact their monthly rents run higher than the city’s average.

“I spend full time in Wetaskiwin and fill in briefly when the manager is away, but what I can say is our one bedroom goes for $1,195 and $1,225 for a two bedroom and they get snapped up at that price. We’re full. In the short term I have been here, they don’t even hesitate for $1,225.”

Although many residents might be finding the average monthly rents too high, there are more opportunities in the future.

“Things are continuing to move economically here and there is more supply in Leduc. We have some units being built and there is more coming on stream here, so we have some new stuff coming on,” explained Nancy Laing, executive director of Leduc Foundation.

The region is a good place for developers to build units, according to housing experts, who stress this could mean more housing in the area in the near future.

“Leduc has been a fairly active market for multi family housing and housing overall. It’s a growing community, with the Edmonton International Airport and the Nisku industrial area are both huge employment drivers and provide employment opportunities. There is a low unemployment rate and these are the kinds of things developers like to see. A good stable economic base makes Leduc a community that is deemed to be an attractive location for new development,” said Goatcher.

But even though the future may bring more housing units for tenants, apartment searchers like Shannon Smith feel there should be more lower housing options in the area as well as alternatives to apartments.

“Three years ago when I lived in Leduc, you could find a place in an hour for the most part. Now in my case, it could take months. So right now, it’s very sparse. The city defiantly needs more cheaper [housing options] and more detached non apartment rentals that are per friendly,” she said.

Property owners stress that even though the monthly rates might be unappealing to some, there is a market of people willing to pay the average rate.

“Looking at a market, you can’t take into account the financial position of individuals. If the market is there, and people are paying it, then I guess that really is the market,” said Begley.
handbag store Leduc rental market runs higher than Edmonton