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'It was really quite difficult': Regina students facing challenges during busy rental season

A rental inquiry sign is pictured in this file photo. (David Prisciak/CTV News) A rental inquiry sign is pictured in this file photo. (David Prisciak/CTV News)

As fall approaches, the rental market in Regina has become quite frenzied according to experts and renters alike.

“The market could be described as relatively tight at the moment when compared to this time last year due to a number of factors,” said Cameron Choquette, CEO of the Saskatchewan Landlords Association (SLA).

“[There’s] increased immigration coming into the province. We're seeing all of the universities and technical institutes open their doors to in person classes this fall. Whereas compared to last year, there was a bit of ambiguity and inconsistency across the institutions.”

Some student renters have encountered some issues in their search for a place to live ahead of the upcoming fall semester.

“It was really difficult. I was checking all the marketplaces and the Kijijis and all these websites probably once, twice, maybe every other hour,” said Reed Rabbetz, a business student in his final year of study at the University of Regina.

“I was finding these rental properties. They weren't exactly what I was looking for, [but they] were being rented within an hour or a day or so. So the nature of the rental scene here in Regina, it moves very fast for university students my age.”

Other student renters, like Madison Mansfield, have had better luck in their search.

“It wasn't too difficult to be honest with you, but I'm also not too picky,” the second year education student explained.

“The hardest part was to find one in our price range because we really didn't want to pay like more than $650 each, a month because that would have been quite a lot. That was cutting it close until we found our place that was cheap enough.”

Mansfield currently rents a one story, three bedroom and one bathroom home with two roommates in the Harbour Landing area. The total rent for the students comes out to around $1,400 before utilities.

Rabbetz eventually found a five-bedroom house to rent in the Douglas Park area. He and his three roommates each pay around $550 for a total of around $2,200 before utilities.

“It's pretty around market rate, maybe a little bit more than market rate,” said Rabbetz. “But we’re sure happy with it, especially with the space that we're getting.”


With increased demand and other factors such as inflationary pressures, prices in Regina are set to increase in the near future.

The average price of a two-bedroom rental property in the Queen City currently sits at $1,200 a month, a 3.3 per cent increase from last year.

Meanwhile, in Saskatoon, the average price of a two bedroom is $1,150, a nine per cent increase from last year.

“We are hearing from our members and from tenants that rental increases are being handed out around that five to 10 per cent range for those tenants who are staying in the property and greater than 10 per cent for those suites that are being turned over and listed for new tenants,” Choquette explained.

Both Mansfield and Rabbetz said current prices are heightened from last year, but are fair in comparison to the rest of Canada.

“I'd say that like Regina is definitely cheaper than what my other friends have to pay when they go to school out east, or in other provinces,” Mansfield explained.

“I do see rent trending upwards. That being said, you know, Regina is still pretty, relatively affordable,” said Rabbetz.

“I talk to my friends in Calgary and Vancouver and stuff like that, and I tell them how much we pay in rent. They laugh at us.”


Vacancy rates in Saskatchewan ranged from five to seven per cent, which is on par from previous years according to data released in January from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

“There is a bit of wiggle room, we aren’t in a dire situation here in Saskatchewan in terms of availability,” Choquette said. “Provided that we can continue to build multi-purpose built rental units.”

Purpose built units make up about 60 per cent of the market in Saskatchewan, with the other approximately 40 per cent made up of the “secondary market.”

Secondary market properties consist of basement suites, condos and other non-purpose built units for rent in older neighborhoods.

“In established neighborhoods, renovated basement suites are a really great option for students, or small families to get started out,” said Choquette.

“It's just another option on the housing continuum to build supply and provide availability for a different segment of the market.”

The secondary market is especially prominent in residential areas around post secondary institutions, such as the University of Regina.

Meanwhile, purpose built developments continue to move forward in the southwest and southeast regions of the city, specifically in Harbour Landing and the Greens.

Going forward, Choquette would like to see a combination of new purpose built developments combined with innovation within the secondary market.

“Perhaps we could encourage more individuals to rent out their basement suites and legalize those,” he said.

“The City of Regina recently approved backyard suites, which is a great step for encouraging folks to not only build multi-generational housing, but also just provide another option for families and individuals in the province.”

The end of the construction season in late fall typically leads to around a three to five per cent increase in availability, due to new units being completed, according to the SLA.

As Regina approaches Sept. 1, the busiest time in the rental market, Choquette believes renters will continue to have options as long as production moves along.

“There are some interesting innovative ways that we'll be talking more about in the future to make sure that production continues to outpace demand by a little bit, so that we can make sure we're both having a profitable rental housing industry and tenants who are getting affordable rents for what they're getting in their municipality,” he explained.

“But overall, Saskatchewan remains a great place to own a rental property and a really quite affordable place to be a tenant currently, when compared to the national average.” Top Stories

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