News / Calgary

Calgary No. 1 in high rent: Report

City apartments most expensive among major urban centres

"The incredibly high rates of  apartment rental costs or ownership costs in the city, it creates so many levels of problems."

-CHAI's Grant Neufeld

Calgarians looking for apartment accommodations are digging deeper into their pockets, according to a new CMHC report released yesterday.

And with rental for a two-bedroom apartment now reaching an average of $1,089 per month, Calgary is not only the number one most attractive city to live in, but also the most expensive major city in the country to rent - edging out Vancouver by $5.

Rising rents continue to make it tough for anyone to find an affordable place to live, said Calgary Housing Action Initiative (CHAI) co-ordinator Grant Neufeld, but the effects of high rents trickle down on the rest of society.

"The incredibly high rates of apartment rental costs or ownership costs in the city, it creates so many levels of problems.  It fans out, not just in terms of people being able to access housing, but people being able to access adequate housing," he said, noting that too many people are living in overcrowded apartments or basements suites to split the cost of sky-high rents.

Neufeld said by not providing housing solutions that are affordable to the average person, social issues such as health, worker productivity and mental health come to the forefront.

The housing activist said rent controls, an idea panned by the provincial government, and inclusion planning are keys to fixing the problem with rising rents.

On the upside of the CMHC report, Calgarians who can afford to rent in the city are having an easier time finding a place. 

Calgary's vacancy rate jumped up to 1.5 per cent, triple of what it was in Oct. 2006.  The national average is 2.6 per cent.

darren krause/Metro Calgary

More on