Recent trends in the Winnipeg and Regina rental markets suggest challenges ahead for multifamily residential property owners, as well as for developers in the process of constructing residential properties-but they also provide an opportunity for those property owners to take advantage of third-party lease-up services.
According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's Fall 2015 rental market reports, both Winnipeg and Regina experienced increases in vacancy rates, coupled with an increase in overall unit supply, when compared to a year earlier:
· Higher overall vacancy rate: In Winnipeg, the overall vacancy rate rose to 2.9 percent, up from 2.5 percent in October 2014. In Regina, the overall vacancy rate increased from 3 to 5.4 percent.
· Vacancy is widespread: In both Winnipeg and Regina, vacancies rose throughout the cities' core urban as well as suburban areas.
· Increased supply: Both cities also experienced increases in total apartments within the market. Winnipeg has 2.6 percent more units than it had in fall 2014, while Regina's unit total has increased by 4.3 percent.
· Age of buildings: While vacancy rates are up virtually across the board, buildings of a certain vintage stand out in each city, as far as vacancy rates are concerned. In Winnipeg, buildings constructed in 2005 or later saw an increase in vacancy from 3.5 to 4.2 percent. In Regina, newer construction vacancies are down from 6.2 to 6.1 percent, but buildings constructed between 1990 and 2004 have seen their vacancy rates rise from 0 to 7.4 percent.
· One- and two-bedroom vacancy rates: Vacancy rates for one-bedroom units in Winnipeg increased from 2.5 to 2.7 percent. In Regina, those numbers increased from 2.7 to 5.2 percent. Meanwhile, for two-bedroom units in Winnipeg, vacancy rates have increased from 2.4 to 3.2 percent, and in Regina, they have increased from 3.4 to 5.5 percent.
Meanwhile, average rents for one- and two-bedroom units have also increased in both cities. In Winnipeg, one-bedroom units are up from $782 to $813 per month, and two-bedroom units are up from $1,016 to $1,045 per month. In Regina, one-bedroom monthly rental rates have risen from $904 to $918, while two-bedroom rents have increased from $1,079 to $1,097 per month.
Lease-up services provide advantages
While the challenges facing property owners in Winnipeg and Regina are considerable, the issue of reducing or even eliminating vacancies is not one that property owners and developers should have to address on their own. Working with a property management firm that also offers initial lease-up services can help throughout the process by providing a resource for strategies geared toward attracting tenants-and retaining them for the long term.
Lease-up services offered by a property management firm can begin as early as the planning phase and continue through the preparation and leasing phases, as developers and property owners can consult with the firm regarding the needs of the rental market. The firm can offer input on everything from floor plans to features and amenities, as well as develop marketing materials and take an active role in showing properties and units to prospective tenants.
Working with a property management firm can ensure property owners and developers are well equipped to take on the challenges of the Winnipeg and Regina rental markets. As you begin planning a new property, there's no need to worry about how you'll get all those units rented-get in touch with a trusted, experienced firm today and inquire about lease-up services.