The COVID-19 pandemic has created economic challenges for many businesses, but Avenue Living is coming off a strong third quarter with an optimistic outlook for the fourth quarter and into 2021.
“We had a tremendous amount of activity in Q3,” said Louise Elsey, Chief Operating Officer of Avenue Living Communities. “Our overall occupancy grew across our markets and we had record breaking renewal activity. This demonstrates the draw of our service offering to retain and attract new residents to our communities.”
Most notably, Elsey notes “fantastic” growth in many markets, including Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Red Deer, and Lloydminster, where the return of students to universities and colleges created on average five per cent growth in each region. The tertiary markets have also done well, as previously strong players have stayed that way and some small markets have picked up.
Elsey said rent collection remained strong in the quarter, achieving a rate of approximately 95 per cent enterprise-wide. Residential renewals have been strong as well with the average retention rate close to 80 per cent.
“We’re pleased with the resident base we have built. We have not had issues with commitments to pay which has been great — as housing has been a primary concern for people given the times. Obviously, there was the uncertainty about how long CERB (Canada Emergency Response Benefit) was going to last and what the transition to EI (Employment Insurance) looked like. We’ve weathered the storm well because of our focus on workforce housing. Many of the people that we serve are still working or are in receipt of income support,” said Elsey.
Given the amount of interest Avenue Living Communities has seen through internet activity and viewing activity, she said there continues to be a flight to affordability for people in this current economic climate, especially for those who may have been in class A assets and are feeling the long-term effects of the pandemic.
“Our activity levels have been good. We are hopeful that we will see continued growth in occupancy this upcoming quarter,” said Elsey.
The feedback we have been receiving from residents presents that we offer an attractive value proposition: good service and at the right price. The committed and dedicated field team takes pride in building relationships with residents and in knowing what their needs are, and Elsey believes that sets Avenue Living Communities apart in the marketplace. The Duty of Care shown to residents ensuring they are living safely and responsibly goes a long way.
Next year, the company plans to focus even more on the service it offers and making sure that residents feel valued and comfortable renewing with Avenue Living Communities.
“We’ve done a great job at capturing the marketplace. Now it’s about sustaining that — making our residents want to live with us because we’re a long-term solution that works for them. We are looking deeper into our partnerships with internet services and other providers that may offer some additional value to our residents,” said Elsey.
Avenue Living Communities has also made it a priority to remain in constant communication with all tenants during these times. We continue to provide reliable resources and updates that may help our customers receive support.
“With that and our enhanced cleaning protocols and flexible rent payments, we’re making it easier for people to live with us,” Elsey said. “We’ve been very optimistic with how things have gone during the pandemic so far and we are looking forward to seeing what comes in Q4 and into next year.