Housing

Housing

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Calgary continues to lead the country in terms of population growth. The business and residential attractiveness of Calgary means that the city’s rental housing vacancy is well below the national average at 1.3%. This number is expected to remain low in the near future. While it is good to know that Calgary is a city in high demand, Calgary’s success and low vacancy has created a number of negative outcomes that need to be addressed.

A look at the total stock levels of rental housing in Calgary shows that while total rent stock grew by 6% in 2010, it has leveled off significantly since then. This low supply of rental housing combined with high demand provides little incentive to create more affordable housing as rental prices continue to increase.

Calgary’s economic success puts it in a unique situation. While wages and labour demand make the city competitive, the high prices and low vacancy rates make Calgary one of the few cities in Canada where homelessness increases as the economy improves rather than the more typical cycle of it rising during poorer economic conditions.  The low vacancy rates and high prices threaten the city’s competitiveness as citizens find it increasingly difficult to find suitable, affordable housing.

Housing availability is vital to Calgary’s long term success and given the situation, housing prices are expected to go up as people move to Calgary for work and Calgarians displaced by the June floods continue to search for new or alternative accommodations. Without affordable places to stay, many people who come to Calgary for work may leave due to lack of accommodations. An assessment of all options to increase Calgary’s housing availability is needed to ensure that Calgary maintains a high quality supply of labour to meet the city’s demands.

Given the current housing situation in Calgary, the Calgary Chamber recommends The City of Calgary:

  • Remove zoning restrictions on secondary suites, while ensuring that:

    • Basic infrastructure and safety restrictions are met and suites do not exceed a maximum of two bedrooms.
    • Secondary suites are required to meet basic health and safety standards only.
    • Suites are limited to a rental basis only.
  • Use tools to increase the development of affordable market and non-market rental housing stock throughout the city, such as density bonusing and parking requirement relaxation.

Download our full Great Calgary 2013 policy book

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