Research report compares housing affordability across Canada’s eight biggest cities

The City of Calgary released Housing in Canada’s Big Cities, a report comparing Calgary’s housing supply and affordability with seven of Canada’s largest cities: Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Edmonton, Mississauga, Winnipeg and Vancouver.

Considerably different from that of its counterparts, Calgary ranks highest for rates of homeownership and single-family housing, but has the lowest supply of purpose-built rental housing, non-market rental housing (affordable housing) and co-operative housing.

While the needs of most Calgarian households earning $80,000 or more a year are being met (only four per cent of those families are overspending on housing), low-income families still face major challenges.

“The supply of housing available to lower-income households is severely limited in Calgary, particularly when compared to other cities,” says Sarah Woodgate, Director of Calgary Housing and President of Calgary Housing Company. “Sixty per cent of households earning less than $60,000 a year are overspending on shelter costs.”

The report finds that compared to other big cities in Canada, Calgary is the most expensive city to live in for low-income households.

“This incredibly important report will help the provincial and federal governments better understand Calgary’s specific affordable housing needs,” says Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “The other orders of government have shown themselves to be willing partners in providing affordable housing for more low-income Calgarians. We will continue to work together to close the gap this report highlights.”

Earlier this month, the federal government unveiled the National Housing Co-investment Fund, a $13.17 billion initiative to boost affordable housing supply. In addition, details are forthcoming on a Federal Lands Initiative, where surplus federal lands and buildings will be used to create affordable, sustainable and socially inclusive developments.

The Housing in Canada’s Big Cities report includes an examination of possible reasons why Calgary’s housing market is so challenging for low-income households, and compares affordable housing strategies to see how other Canadian cities are addressing housing affordability. It also outlines some recommendations on how to improve Calgary’s affordable housing landscape.

To view the full report and The City of Calgary’s corporate affordable housing strategy, which sets The City’s direction over the next ten years to ensure Calgarians living on lower incomes have a safe, stable place to call home, visit