After years of steady growth, Saskatoon will become Avenue Living’s largest residential rental market this fall – the crown jewel of the Calgary-based company’s 19 markets across the Prairies.
Graham Edge, Senior Vice President of Residential Operations in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, said Avenue Living’s current portfolio in Saskatoon includes 1,283 units in 14 buildings, with an asset value of $200 million.
“There is an additional 120 units that we will acquire in October,” said Edge. “It’s a block of three buildings that will push our total to 1,403 units in Saskatoon.” This will overtake the number of units in Edmonton, currently at 1,401.
“We’re the clear choice to call home in Saskatoon. As a multi-family owner and operator, we’re really, really in love with this market.”
The Saskatoon portfolio is split between the East and West sides of the city.
“We’ve expanded our internal operating structure from three portfolios to five in the last year, adding close to 600 doors,” said Edge. “A portfolio normally has approximately 250 doors. Without the COVID-19 pandemic, I believe we would have seen even more rapid growth in Saskatoon.”
“We’ve continued to focus on running the business rather than just expansion. We wanted to ensure we were taking care of our residents first and foremost,” added Edge. “By getting back to basics in our approach, we have been able to consistently provide value and quality for our residents, and enduring returns for our shareholders.”
Saskatoon’s population has grown each year, for the past five years. Their economy is in good shape, which means that the essential workforce demographic, which has long been a focus for Avenue Living, is well represented in the Saskatoon market.
When asked how much further Avenue Living could grow in Saskatoon, Edge replied, “I don’t think there’s an end to it in sight. We have fantastic leadership in Saskatoon, with two Vice Presidents stationed here as well as five Residential Portfolio Managers. I believe there’s room for considerable growth.”
In the past year, Avenue Living has also spent a great deal of time and investment with capital expenditures on properties in Saskatoon, with various renovation projects including concrete work, re-siding, painting, and upgrading numerous suites.
Those projects have led to positive lease renewals for the company.
“We’ve continued to see growth in occupancy in the last year, even in the last three months during COVID-19,” said Edge. “We’ve also seen 75 per cent retention in the last year.”
“75 per cent retention is a fantastic number, and it’s because our residents come first. We’ve focused on the quality and the speed in which we close work orders, and maintaining our buildings and the landscaping.”
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