Housing in Canada's big cities


In March 2017, The City of Calgary published Housing in Calgary: An Inventory of Housing Supply, 2015/2016, providing comprehensive information on Calgary’s housing supply, covering the entire spectrum of housing in Calgary, from emergency shelter spaces to market homeownership. Through this report, a more complete picture of the entire housing system in Calgary became visible, enabling a broader understanding of housing supply trends, gaps and implications and specifically, the current state of the affordable housing segment. This report is intended to compliment the 2017 Housing in Calgary report by helping to understand in what ways Calgary’s housing supply and affordability compare to other big cities, the possible reasons why it is different, and what municipal tools are currently being used to impact supply and affordability in Canada’s largest cities. In 2016, Calgary City Council unanimously adopted Foundations for Home: Calgary’s Corporate Affordable Housing Strategy 2016 – 2025, along with an Implementation Plan for the period 2016-2022. This research may inform several initiatives in the Implementation Plan, as well as the prioritization of tactics by Calgary’s Community Housing Affordability Collective (CHAC), and could be used to strategically plan future development in the city. Additionally, this research could be used to inform discussions and advocacy with other orders of government.

Key Findings 

Housing in Calgary is very different from housing in Canada’s other big cities, with the:

 second-highest rate of homeownership at 71%, compared to the average of 59%,

 second-lowest proportion of households living in rental housing at 29%, compared to the average of 41%,

 lowest proportion of households living in subsidized housing, at 2.9%1 , compared to the average of 5.3%,

 second-highest per cent of households living in single-family housing, at 56.3%, compared to the average 36.5%,

 lowest per cent of households living in high-rise apartment buildings, at 7%, compared to the average 20%,

 lowest supply of purpose-built rental apartments, representing 7% of housing supply, compared to the average 16%, and the

 lowest supply of co-operative housing, at 0.3%, compared to the average of 1%.

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