Calgary sees record housing development in 2023, but demand is outstripping supply

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Calgary sees record housing development in 2023, but demand is outstripping supply
WATCH ABOVE: (From Feb. 15, 2024) Developers in Calgary built the most homes in a single year ever in 2023, but demand continues to outstrip that growing supply. Adam MacVicar reports. – Feb 15, 2024

New home construction reached an all-time high in Calgary last year, but demand continues to outstrip supply and pressure the city’s housing market.

According to the City of Calgary, 15,393 homes were built in the city in 2023; 11 per cent more than the previous year.

The construction of multi-residential homes increased by 49 per cent while the development of secondary suites jumped by 43 per cent over 2022.

“I think it illustrates an interest in the development community of providing many different housing options for Calgarians,” Ulrik Seward, the City of Calgary’s chief building official, told Global News.

“I think that’s very helpful because it provides different housing types at different price points.”

The city also attributes the record jump in development to the 16,505 residential building permits it issued in 2023, which is the most issued in the past 10 years.

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Last year alone, the city said it received applications for 414 land use amendments and outline plans, 7,601 development permits and 21,317 building permits.

“We are in a housing crisis and it’s critical that the construction industry is able to build as many homes as possible for Calgarians,” Seward said.

However, the city estimates 65 people are moving to Calgary every single day with expectations that the city’s population will grow by 110,000 people over the next four years.

“The demand is outpacing the supply,” said Debra Hamilton, the city’s acting general manager of planning and development.

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Calgarians continue to feel the pressure of that demand on the market, especially rentals, which have seen rents increase 12.8 per cent year-over-year, according to

The average asking price for a one-bedroom apartment in Calgary is now $1,799, while two-bedrooms sit at $2,221 for rent.

But after months of leading the country in rent inflation, Edmonton just overtook Calgary among Canada’s largest markets with a year-over-year increase of 17 per cent.

“It has a lot to do with what’s happening in other areas of the country,” said Giacomo Ladas with “So what we’re really seeing is areas like Vancouver and Toronto are becoming very unaffordable.

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“Areas like Calgary, Nova Scotia, even Saskatchewan are now seeing demand increase so much that even though we are seeing a large influx of new supply, it isn’t really catching up to the new demand that we’re seeing.”

Grace Campbell, a renter in Calgary, saw her rent increase by $500 over the last year.

Campbell, who is balancing school with two jobs, told Global News that prospects for finding affordable rent in Calgary are dwindling.

“It’s impossible to find anywhere to live, and once you do find something that’s kind of affordable, by the time you reach out to a building manager to do a walkthrough, they’re gone,” she said.

Living in an older building, Campbell said she frequently encounters issues with her unit’s heating, which can go unanswered by her landlord.

“I’m paying so much more, and it’s like, what am I actually paying for if my building isn’t going to take care of things that need to be taken care of,” she said.

For city officials, the record number of new developments in Calgary is a sign of “momentum,” with efforts underway to implement the slate of recommendations included in the city’s housing strategy.

“The most important part of the story is to help people recognize that, in this crisis, you can’t slow down,” Ward 8 councillor Courtney Walcott told Global News.

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“If you slow down, by any means, you’re putting yourself behind the curve.”

Walcott said the steps in the housing strategy will be critical to enabling housing that matches where there is demand, like the sharp increase in multi-residential development.

“That demand is close to amenities, that demand is close to transit, that demand is in Calgary, not on the edges,” Walcott said.

The Ward 8 representative said the record number of developments shows how long it takes to get housing built.

One aspect of the housing strategy, a blanket zoning change across the majority of residential properties in the city, will go to a public hearing in April.

“A lot of people are isolating it and saying, ‘This won’t solve the problem,'” Walcott told Global News. “I always have to remind people, this is one action amongst many that is needed to solve a complex problem.”

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