Restoration in Edmonton’s core bodes nicely for residential actual property

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“As downtown Edmonton becomes more vital, so does the desire to live there again,” says Amit Grover of Avison Young

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Joel Schlesinger for the Edmonton Journal Downtown Edmonton is seen from the newly opened Duggan Bridge on Saskatchewan Drive when the sun sets on Wednesday, November 10, 2021.  Photo by Ian Kucerak Downtown Edmonton is seen from the newly opened Duggan Bridge on Saskatchewan Drive when the sun sets on Wednesday, November 10, 2021. Photo by Ian Kucerak Photo by Ian Kucerak /Mail media

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Edmonton’s office real estate market is leading the recovery from COVID-19, and that’s good news for its rental and condominium markets, too.

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Avison Young released its third quarter office report this month and found that Edmonton’s downtown office space has returned 35 percent of the workforce. Only Calgary has seen a stronger recovery, with about 46 percent of workers returning downtown compared to pre-pandemic levels, the report said.

Overall, the rebound in core Edmonton bodes well for the residential real estate market, said Amit Grover, principal of Edmonton apartment buildings at Avison Young.

“As downtown Edmonton’s vitality increases, so will the desire” to return to centers like Rogers Place and the Ice District, he says, noting that these entertainment centers “took shape before the pandemic.”

More downtown pedestrian traffic will inevitably increase interest in downtown living, he adds, although downtown rents per square meter are typically higher, as are condominium price tags.

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But “younger professional renters are comfortable” paying a premium when amenities like bars, restaurants, cafes, and shopping destinations “are busy and thriving,” Grover adds.

In addition, rents and apartment prices are relatively low due to the pandemic. For one thing, landlords couldn’t justify the higher rental costs because most facilities were closed. And demand also fell as buyers looked elsewhere to buy a home.

“We have seen a major shift to suburbs with larger suites and better value for money,” he adds of the impact of the pandemic.

Buyers have preferred single-family homes or townhouses, the lower-cost option more commonly found outside of the city center, says Nathan Mol, broker at Liv Real Estate in Edmonton.

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“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve noticed a preference for more space both indoors and outdoors,” he says.

But that is changing now.

“In the past month or two we’ve seen more visitors and interest from singles and young couples with no children in the city center,” adds Mol.

A leading indicator is rising rents as facilities reopen and more Edmontoners return to personal office work, Mol says.

“The tide is beginning to shift a little in the direction of interest in the inner city and the central districts.”

Bargains can still be found for specific condominiums compared to the prices before the pandemic.

“For now, the best deals and the best selection of floor plans and styles are still in downtown condos, where buyers still have strong negotiating skills on price and terms,” ​​he adds.

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This includes new buildings with developers and operators that offer more living comfort.

“While these certainly come at a higher price, the lifestyle that comes with these offerings is unprecedented in the Edmonton market,” says Grover, pointing out luxurious finishes with floor-to-ceiling windows, spectacular views, rooftop decks, dog runs and playrooms Gyms are often “within walking distance of the busy Ice District.”

The quality of living in the city center may not last long, warns Mol. “As we see increasing demand in the future, we can view the next three to six months as an opportunity for the city center.”

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