Downtown Edmonton is proving to be a profitable venture for those interested in investing in student rental housing. The market has softened somewhat, offering more choice for investors at relatively low prices for both properties and mortgage rates. The light rail system, or LRT, has also been recently extended, opening up more opportunities along the new rail lines.
The University of Alberta has a student population that hovers around 37,500. The school specializes in agriculture and the sciences and draws students from across Canada and beyond. In the 2009/2010 school year, almost 4,500 students came from outside of Alberta and over 5,000 from other countries. About 15 percent of students live off-campus. That is a substantial amount of people looking for shelter. As the Edmonton Clinic, the new medical facility associated with the university, takes off, there will be even more students in the market for space.
The vacancy rate in housing near the university hovers at about 2 percent. In 2010 that went up to 2.6 percent, but it remains fairly stable and demand is not likely to decrease by much. Some of the prime areas include Queen Alexander, Parkallen, Strathcona and Garneau. The area around Whyte Street, which some call party central for all the restaurants and party venues, is also a hot market. The LRT also means that buying less expensive property farther from campus will still be marketable because of transportation convenience.