A housing strategy for Calgary key to long-term prosperity

September 14, 2023
Life in Calgary In the Media

This letter was submitted by Calgary Economic Development to Members of the City of Calgary Community Development Committee regarding Home is Here - The City of Calgary's Housing Strategy 2024 - 2030.

Calgary Economic Development’s mandate is to attract, retain and expand companies, capital, and talent to build long-term economic prosperity for all Calgarians. Through our work with Calgary’s business community and potential prospects around the world, we consistently hear that quality of life and housing that is affordable are critical to their decisions around where to expand and how to relocate.

Housing that is affordable is an economic imperative for Calgary. Therefore, we support the development and implementation of a City of Calgary Housing Strategy as an important step our municipal government can take to ensure Calgary remains a top destination for companies, capital and talent.

There are three pressing economic challenges currently impacting housing affordability in Calgary – high demand for housing, labour shortage of trades and construction workers, and structural and regulatory challenges.

In 2022 alone, Calgary experienced a 445 per cent increase in year-over-year population growth from net migration and welcomed 42,160 new migrants. This high population growth is expected to continue and drive demand for a variety of housing types to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population.

Meanwhile, job vacancies in the trades and construction industry have doubled since 2018 to 12,060 vacancies in Q1 of 2023. This gap exacerbates the ability for the industry to meet the high demand for housing.

Finally, housing supply and demand has been impacted by interest rates and inflation, with the bank rate increasing by 950 per cent in the last 20 months.

These factors have created a difficult reality for many Calgarians, with the City of Calgary Housing Needs Assessment showing that roughly one in five households cannot afford their housing.

Given the many complex challenges with housing affordability, the solution requires multi-perspective, multi-player solutions that must include all orders of government.

We emphasize housing affordability is an issue that impacts all economic drivers of the community’s economic strategy, Calgary in the New Economy. To remain competitive to grow and attract an increasingly diverse workforce and companies, our city needs a comprehensive housing strategy to:

• Ensure we are a welcoming city where everyone can grow their careers;
• Attract people who want to make a difference, create solutions and change the world;
• Create a city where everyone is welcome, safe and able to build a meaningful life;
• Champion efficient and effective policies supporting business practices; and,
• Share Calgary’s story as an ambitious city full of energy, optimism and opportunity.

Access to housing that’s affordable – both market and non-market – impacts Calgary's ability to be the place where bright minds and big ideas come together with an unmatched spirit to solve global challenges.

Livability is a priority in the community-built economic strategy, Calgary in the New Economy. Learn more. 

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