In Calgary, apartment building construction is booming as more Canadians embrace rentals


Across the nation, competitors is stiff amongst apartment hunters as the rental market will get tighter. In Calgary, that battle to search out rental house is fuelling an unprecedented quantity of rental construction.

As of September, construction has begun on 2,799 new rental apartment items in Calgary this 12 months. That’s the best quantity on report, although 2021 was one other banner 12 months with 2,572 apartment begins, numbers from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) present.

Developers describe it as a traditional Economics 101 state of affairs: provide rising to satisfy demand. 

For years, they are saying a scarcity of rental construction in Calgary has left that facet of the market underserved. On the demand facet, increased rates of interest are driving more folks to lease reasonably than personal.

The province is additionally seeing a big uptick in folks shifting to the province, with more than 50,000 coming to Alberta to reside within the first half of 2022 alone. 

Alkarim Devani is the president of RNDSQR, which began off building single-family properties, however has since shifted to purpose-built rentals. (Paula Duhatschek/CBC)

“We have this enormous void house in comparison with plenty of the opposite main metropolitan cities inside Canada of rental housing,” mentioned Alkarim Devani, president of the Calgary-based growth firm RNDSQR, which has shifted in recent times to building rentals solely. 

“We’ve had virtually a 20-year rift of rental product, and in order that’s why we’re seeing such an inflow of it.”

According to the newest numbers from, the common Canadian rental apartment was $1,810 a month in September, up about 12 per cent from the earlier 12 months.

In Calgary, the common one-bedroom rental was $1,629, a rise of 29 per cent year-over-year. 

Outlook throughout Canada

Calgary is not the one metropolis that is seeing some shift towards rentals. 

In a number of huge cities, the share of residences being constructed for rentals, reasonably than condominium possession, has grown within the first half of this 12 months in comparison with the common for a similar interval within the earlier 5, in response to CMHC numbers. 

One exception is Toronto, the place the share of rental construction dipped within the first half of 2022, one thing CMHC analyst Michael Mak says is probably due partly to the excessive price of land in that metropolis.

“There are rising rates of interest … and rising construction prices and labour prices, and people all play a think about decrease rental begins,” he mentioned. 

In Vancouver, growth agency Anthem Properties is pushing exhausting on multi-family rentals, with about 3,000 items which might be both in preliminary planning phases, beneath evaluation or beneath construction, most in Metro Vancouver, in response to Gage Marchand, the corporate’s supervisor of funding. 

He famous that more Canadians are renting, reasonably than proudly owning, their properties — a development he expects will solely proceed to develop. 

“I do not see the affordability disaster getting any higher anytime quickly,” mentioned Marchand, whose firm additionally has workplaces in Calgary, Edmonton and Sacramento.

“I believe shifting ahead on this subsequent technology, renting can be more accepted as a kind of regular actuality [and] Anthem desires to proceed building properties for folks.” 

Policy additionally driving growth

Public coverage additionally has a job to play in driving rental growth. 

In Vancouver, Marchand pointed to insurance policies that present incentives to builders for building near public transit, or increased density allowances if inexpensive housing is included, amongst different benchmarks.

Ken Toews is the senior vice-president of Calgary-based Strategic Group, a growth agency that builds rental properties. He’s pictured exterior the Barron Building, a historic workplace tower in Calgary that is being transformed into residential items. (Paula Duhatschek/CBC)

Another instance is a City of Calgary program that gives grants for changing empty workplace house into residential buildings, mentioned Ken Toews, senior vice-president of Strategic Group, which is within the center of remodeling one of many metropolis’s first oil and gasoline workplace towers into residential residences. 

Toews mentioned many builders are additionally utilizing a CMHC program referred to as MLI Select, which gives insurance coverage incentives if a rental growth hits sure targets for affordability, vitality effectivity, accessibility or some mixture of the three. 

“It’s a very good program, and it brings more product on-line than you’ll usually have in a market,” he mentioned. 

Future outlook

Opinions differ about whether or not rental growth will speed up or sluggish within the months and years forward. 

High rates of interest and construction prices are additionally placing stress on builders, which Paul Battistella predicts will result in some pullback in rental growth going ahead. 

“Rents are simply not going to have the ability to speed up at that very same proportion to have the ability to make the mathematics work on these issues,” mentioned Battistella, a managing associate with Calgary-based apartment developer Battistella Developments, which additionally units apart a few of its items for rental. 

Paul Battistella, with Battistella Developments, says a long-time lack of rental provide has spurred builders to construct more purpose-built rentals. But he warns the present local weather of excessive rates of interest and construction prices might trigger some to tug again. (Paula Duhatschek/CBC)

“The [projects] which might be in play now, they have been contracted for, their prices are locked, they’re OK … I simply suppose something new is going to be actually, actually tough to get going.”

As for when, and if, the rise in provide will result in aid for present renters — opinions differ on that, too. 

Mak expects some buildings beneath construction now, particularly the low-rise buildings, will wrap up within the months forward resulting in some loosening of the market. 

But if demand continues on the present clip, Toews believes any new residences added will probably be absorbed fairly shortly. 

“I believe we’re undersupplied and it is gonna create challenges,” he mentioned. “Less provide implies that your costs are gonna go up.” 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here