In recent years, Calgary has been crowned as one of the most affordable places to live in Canada; however as Calgary continues to grow, there is a need for balance between building enough housing to satisfy demand while considering the big picture of sustainability, liveability and overall quality of life. An influx of people moving to Calgary is part of a broader trend of international migration to Canada that has pushed our population growth to record highs. Plus, as Alberta endorsed its affordability advantage, people from other provinces are also moving here in droves. Amid all this rising demand, Calgary’s housing market is seeing its lowest inventory levels since the boom times of 2006, leaving people who are looking to buy a house facing limited choice and higher prices.
Going into fall we still find ourselves amidst historic low inventory, and the number of new listings dropped again in August, not only a record low for the month but well below the number units that are typically available. Due to a surge in the condominium market however, August sales reached a record high. What a rollercoaster to navigate.
The Bank of Canada halted a hike in the interest rate on Sept. 6, a decision that many felt was a welcomed relief. Since March 2022, the interest rate has risen 10 times, making it tougher for people to buy a home in Calgary as demand continues to keep prices steady. There are fewer homes on the market and housing development is only representing about half of what’s needed to fulfill demand. An indirect impact of the ongoing hikes to the borrowing rate include the price of rent, which continues to rise in Calgary.
With the cost of renting or owning a home rising exponentially in Calgary, the city’s strategy aims to increase the supply of housing, support affordable housing, help the city’s housing subsidiaries, ensure diverse types of housing to meet the needs of equity-deserving populations, and address the affordable housing needs.
Currently, more than 60 percent of residential properties in Calgary are zoned to only allow single family homes as a default.
The City recommendation asks to change the default zoning type to RC-G, which allows for single family homes, but also different housing like duplexes, triplexes, and row houses.
There are concerns around land value, aging city infrastructure in established areas and the city’s tree canopy. Whatever is decided in the end, realistically we will see a gentle transition through the existing local area planning process ahead of zoning reform across the city.
Overall, the challenges and opportunities in Calgary's housing market underscore the importance of adaptability and a well-informed approach for both buyers and sellers. Market conditions can change, so it's crucial to stay informed and be prepared to adjust strategies accordingly.
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