Skip to content

Alberta called Canada's top market for landlords

With no rent controls, rising demand and relatively low per-door prices, Alberta is preparing a feast for yield-hungry residential rental investors
Yorkton Securities sold a new 188-unit rental apartment in NW Edmonton in the first quarter for $41.7 million, or about $221,800 per door. |Avison Young

Alberta is being hailed as the top rental apartment market in Canada and the capital city of Edmonton is the best investment play for landlords, experts contend.

After nearly a decade of sleepy action, both immigrants and investors are awakening to Edmonton’s potential.

“We believe high in-migration rates will continue to push housing prices upward. Benchmark home prices rose 1.5 per cent in Calgary and 1.6 per cent in Edmonton [from a year earlier] in June as a flood of people entered Alberta.,” said Bob Dhillon, founder and CEO of Mainstreet Equities, Alberta’s largest landlord.

Alberta had an in-migration rate of 51,700 people in Q1 2023, as improved economic prospects and relatively affordable housing drew a near-record number of newcomers to the province.

The figure is comparable to the last two quarters of 2022, when Alberta had the largest influx of international and interprovincial migrants in its history.

The result is that Alberta rental vacancy rates are falling with Statistics Canada projecting a 1.3 per cent vacancy in Edmonton within two years, down from 3.1 per cent today, noted Dhillion, whose company posted double-digit, year-over-year growth across all key operating metrics for the seventh consecutive quarter in Q3 2023.

Derek Lobo, founder and CEO of SVN Rock Advisors Inc., of Toronto, and one of Canada’s most prolific rental investors, says Alberta is the place for landlords right now.

“Alberta shines as a prime growth opportunity, representing a beacon of safety and potential for developers and investors. The province's unique advantages make it a compelling choice today.

“A conservative government, a robust influx of immigrants and high income levels create a stable economic environment. Lower regulations, minimal development charges and greater housing affordability make Alberta an investor-friendly haven,” Lobo wrote in a recent op-ed.

“The absence of rent controls,” he added “ ensures a steady flow of high revenues, enhancing the attractiveness of the market.”

Edmonton is witnessing significant upside potential, Lobo said, picking it over Calgary as “more opportunistic in the long run.”

Older apartment buildings in Edmonton are trading at around $120,000 to $150,000 per door, but new buildings are selling for more than $220,000 per unit, sources say.