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Affordable Housing - supply and need

​A healthy housing system offers a diverse mix of structures to suit a variety of individual and family needs, e.g. apartments, townhomes, single-family dwellings. It includes both rental and ownership properties at market and non-market (subsidized) rates, giving people at all income levels access to safe and stable housing.


A model of Calgary's housing spectrum
A model of Calgary’s housing spectrum. The City of Calgary works with other levels of government, non-profits and private developers to meet our city’s non-market housing needs.

Calgary’s housing market is suffering a supply deficit in the non-market (affordable housing) sector. Since 2011, the average increase in new affordable housing units is 308 units per year.  However, to keep up to demand, Calgary needs 2,000-2,500 new units per year.

We’re working with the provincial and federal governments, non-profit organizations and private sector developers to close this gap. Learn more about the various roles we have in serving Calgary’s low- and moderate-income households.

Housing research

The City’s research report – Housing in Calgary: An Inventory of Housing Supply, 2015/2016 – confirms the supply gap in housing for low- to moderate-income households. Additional insights include:

  • Calgary’s lowest market rental rates are among the highest in Canada. This is a challenge for low-income workers trying to make a life here.
  • Despite rent reductions reflecting Alberta’s economic struggles, low- and moderate-income households don’t earn enough to access market rentals. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) reported Calgary’s rental vacancy rate at 7.0 per cent in October 2016, the highest in 25 years. Meanwhile, nearly 4,000 households are on CHC’s waitlist for affordable housing.
  • Only 3.6 per cent of Calgary’s total housing supply is affordable housing. The national average is 6.0 per cent.
  • Sixty-eight per cent of low-income renters spend more than 30 per cent of their gross income on rent, the maximum recommended by CMHC. This means thousands of Calgary households have little, if any, disposable income for other basic needs such as food, clothing, transit, medicine and childcare.

Our Corporate Affordable Housing Strategy identifies the vision and tangible objectives for addressing the supply challenge in partnership with the provincial and federal governments, non-profits and private sector developers. We can’t do it alone. 

Other research

We’ve produced a variety of research papers related to affordable housing and homelessness.

Calgary Affordable Housing Site Selection Analysis

In 2015, The City of Calgary analyzed multiple criteria to identify which areas of Calgary are the most suitable for affordable housing. The report presents the background, methodology, limitations and some of the results of this analysis, as well as implications of the results and next steps.

Housing Preferences of Low-Income Calgarians

The 2015 housing preferences report contains the findings of research conducted in 2012 with low- and moderate-income Calgarians. This report complements the Housing Needs Assessment research (see below).

Calgary Affordable Housing Needs Assessment Report

The report examines the current and predicted future need for afforable housing in Calgary.

CMHC Resources

CMHC is the leading authority on housing matters in Canada. Among the many resources and services offered: