From Boom to Bust: A Look at Real Estate and Renting in Alberta
Two tales of renting in Alberta
It’s summer of 2014 in either Edmonton or Calgary. Oil is riding high near $100/barrel and the economy is booming. Almost anyone can find a job and the real estate market is hot hot hot. If you’re a renter, this is a frustrating time, as housing is in high demand but short supply. Rents seem to be climbing faster than your paycheque and you feel lucky to simply find a place to live.
Jump to 2016/2017. In either of Alberta’s two biggest cities, the story has changed big time. Oil is now hovering between $40-$50/barrel and the Alberta economy is mired in its worst recession since the 1980s. Thousands of jobs have been lost, and not just trades jobs, but also well-paying, supposedly stable professional jobs. If you’re a renter, this is an amazing time. There have never been so many options and rents are falling as landlords are scrambling to make mortgage payments.
This turnaround has been sudden, stunning, and, for many families, sad. It is a stark reminder that no one can predict the future: what is happening in Alberta can happen anywhere, especially since local economies are now so intricately tied to the global economy. The rental market can also swing to favour the landlord or renter, fast. That’s why we need to truly value and put effort into the tenancy relationship. Treat each other well and hopefully both parties feel that it’s a win-win situation, regardless of the market conditions.
The situation has also shown the distinct advantages of renting. Renters have incredible life flexibility. It may be tough to put a dollar figure on this, but there’s something to be said about the peace of mind in knowing that you aren’t tied down to a particular location and can go anywhere in the world.
The life flexibility that renters enjoy ultimately enriches communities. Some of the most interesting people I’ve ever met have been visitors from faraway places, renting in my community. I like to think of them as global cross-pollinators, gaining experiences from all over the world and sharing them in new places.
So if you are a renter in Alberta and just lost your job with that oil and gas company, maybe you can take that month-long backpacking trip you’ve been postponing forever? Or why not apply to that job at Google that just came up? Have you always wanted to teach English in Asia? By taking advantage of these life opportunities, you become a more dynamic and interesting person, and if you come back, you’ll have amazing experiences to share. Now that’s something worth dwelling on.
This post was written by Happipad