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Average rental prices in Grande Prairie among lowest in Alberta

Grande Prairie is looking more and more like an affordable market for renters according to one expert, as prices continue to drop from the lingering effects of the pandemic. According to the latest national rent report published on Rentals.ca, Grande Prairie placed 32nd out of 40 cities examined in August for rent prices on currently vacant one-bedroom homes. Similarly, the Swan City placed 34th for two-bedroom homes.

Paul Danison, content director for Rentals.ca says the price drops are likely due to a culmination of factors that have been dissuading people from opting to move up to Grande Prairie.

“I think basically with the pandemic combined with the oil [crash] you have a high unemployment rate, especially in Grande Prairie… you have people out of work, you have people being cautious because of the pandemic and not moving,” he says.

“There’s a lack of supply [of renters] which makes [the market] more competitive so rents are coming down.”

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Rental rates in the cities of Calgary and Edmonton were noted to be slightly higher than in Grande Prairie on average, placing 29th and 31st, respectively out of the 40 listed cities. Inversely, Lethbridge placed 36th, Red Deer placed 39th, and Lloydminster was observed to have the lowest average rental rates in the province.

Danison says given the current state of the pandemic and how the market is fluctuating, it’s difficult to predict how rates will adjust going forward.

“I’d like to think that in Grande Prairie prices would turn up a little bit as people get back to work but it’s just been really hard to make projections with the pandemic going the way that it has,” he says.

“[People] have been cautious about moving because of the pandemic and they want to make sure that they still have a job and their economic situation is good, while others who are unemployed have had to move down.”

Danison adds, according to the CMHC, the 2019 vacancy rate in Grande Prairie was down to 5.1 per cent, and expressed a curiosity to see how that has shifted.

“It’ll be really interesting to see where that vacancy rate is when they come out with it in October.”

Nationwide, average rental rates have dropped by 7.6 per cent in the year-over-year statistics from this time in 2019.

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