Landlords dangle perks amid rising vacancy rates

(Source: Calgary Herald)

Not much more than a year ago, you had to be deep-pocketed, determined or plain lucky to secure a Calgary apartment.

These days, renters are faced with a new dilemma: should you take the apartment that offers a $200 grocery certificate, free TV for a year or a month’s free rent?

The recession and real-estate downturn has hit Calgary’s rental market, which during the boom featured near-zero vacancy and, until last October at least, Canada’s highest big-city rents that wouldn’t stop rising.

But rents are routinely going down now, as the plunge in newcomers to town has pushed vacancy rates toward five per cent or even above 10 per cent in some buildings. And with renters facing more choice in rental condos or houses, as well, landlords are offering incentives to make their suites stand out in a sea of available units.

“We’re trying our best to compete for the tenants that are out there,” said David McIlveen, director of community development for Board-walk Rental Communities, the city’s largest landlord.

Read Jason Markusoff’s full article “Renters reaping rewards of slump” in the Calgary Herald (April 12, 2009).

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