High-end rental continues to be the driver of the downtown housing market.
By Steven Sandor | April 12, 2021
The high-end rental market continues to expand in Edmonton. The addition of the 30-storey Augustana, a couple of stones’ throws from the Legislature grounds, continues this city’s trend away from condos.
About 20 per cent of the 240 suites available, from studios to one-, two- and three-bedroom layouts, have been leased. The studios feature sliding wall units that divide the bedroom from the living room. It can be moved to expand the living room when it’s time to have guests over or watch the game, and it can be slid the other way to expand the bedroom area.
The building also features a third-floor fitness centre and a second-floor common area, with areas for private meetings, kitchen and even a large boardroom table that’s good for a big conference or a game night. But the jewel is the 30th floor common lounge and outdoor viewing area.
“We looked at the rental market in downtown, Oliver and the financial and government district — and the vast majority of buildings that people are renting are 20, 30, 40, 50 and even 60 years old,” says Kevin McKee, CEO of Pangman Development Corporation. “There was really a lack of new buildings.”
McKee says developers are looking to satisfy the growing rental market — which wants a combination of location and high-end appliances and fixtures.
“I think it’s absolutely critical, because the typical renter is much more sophisticated and they understand quality,” says McKee. “And, if we’re asking them to pay in the top quartile of the market in terms of rent, they should expect high-end appliances, they should expect high-end finishes.”
Of those who have already signed leases, some have sold existing properties. Going from home-owning to renting is no longer seen as making a downward move. McKee says empty nesters are looking to sell their homes and use the equity to fund their retirements, so renting makes sense. He says others may have multiple properties — but, instead of selling their recreational homes, they choose to sell their primary residences.