Calgaryhas 3.5 apartments per 100 people, a much lower ratio of apartments to population than Edmonton and a ratio that trails most major cities in Canada. Calgary has an apartment market of 38,150 apartments—approximately one-third smaller than the Edmontonapartment market—and has a 78% concentration of apartment buildings sized below 20 units total. Calgary has only 19 apartment buildings sized 200+ units, while Edmonton has 21. This indicates that Calgary’s rental apartment market is dominated by small sized apartment buildings which are usually unsuited to absorbing sudden increased demand.
Calgaryis unique among Canada’s major cities in having 3+ bedroom apartments with average rentslower than 2 bedroom average rents. The other unit types show a progressive increase in average rents from bachelors to 2 bedroom apartments. Vacancy ratesare highest in 3+ bedroom units, which are 4% of the city’s total unit mix, while vacancies are almost identical for bachelors, 1 bedroom, and 2 bedroom apartments. This data indicates that there is lower demand for 3+ bedroom apartments in particular, in keeping with the temporary nature of the influx of workers seeking work.
Edmontonand Calgary are the only two apartment markets in Albertacomparable in size to cities in the rest of Canada. For apartment investorsCalgary is a city with a history of ownership rather than rentals, but one which is currently experiencing strong demand for housing of all types.
Calgaryis the second city of Alberta and the current location for one of Canada’s biggest resource-based economic booms. Recent economic growth, the influx of persons seeking employment, and the concomitant demand for housing have placed a large strain on the city’s housing, including the rental apartment market. From 2001 to 2006 the city’s population grew by 13.4%, very high for a major Canadian city of Calgary’s size of over a million people. Mobility is high in Calgary, particularly when compared to major cities across Canada.
The economic activity is centered around the petroleum industry, agriculture, tourism and the high-tech industry. Oil was first discovered in Alberta in 1902 but did not become a significant industry until 1947 when huge reserves were found. Residents only pay a single sales tax, the GST, which provides a lower cost of living. This also encourages tourists and the city is visited by over 3.1 million people a year.