We're facing the hard truth right now that Calgary is in a housing crisis. The city is experiencing a critical housing shortage, creating affordability issues and beyond. Many people are finding it difficult to obtain shelter, both rental and purchase, and if they can find a place, being able to afford it has become a bigger obstacle than usual. Plus, rental rates have dramatically risen in the last few years, with estimates ranging from 20%-60%, depending on property type and location. So again, even if you can find a rental property, you may not be able to afford it. When Calgarians can't find a place to live (or afford where they currently live due to higher rates), we know we're at a crossroads. On top of it all, newcomers are sleeping in shelters and at the airport. [Source]

Residents and newcomers alike literally can't find a place to live, so what can be done? The City of Calgary has had a housing strategy in the works since 2022, and we're here with the latest scoop and main takeaways. The reality is that BIG CHANGES are coming to real estate zoning, policy, and rental incentives and rules. Here, the main takeaways:


The city plans to tackle the housing issue in a few different ways, focusing on 6 main actions:

1. Make it easier to build housing across the city
2. Make more land available to build more housing across the city
3. Ensure that the supply of affordable housing meets the needs of Indigenous people living in Calgary
4. Convene the housing sector to facilitate greater collaboration
5. Increase the investment to support housing providers
6. Ensure more individuals have a safe place to call home

These proposed actions will increase the supply of market and non-market housing, ensuring that there is a diverse range of options in all communities so all Calgarians can find a home that meets their needs." - City of Calgary
We encourage you to read the entire strategy proposed by the city here and here and if you have questions/concerns, make your voice heard! This housing strategy is set to be reviewed by members of Council at the Community Development Committee meeting on September 14, 2023, and you can sign up to attend here.



The City of Calgary has proposed to rezone much of the inner city to allow more density and to fast track development of newer high-density projects. Currently, much of the delay in getting new higher-density projects, like townhomes, built in the inner city is the rezoning process, which can take months or sometimes years. 

The two proposed changes:
 • Make R-CG the primary zoning for inner city. 
 • Make H-GO the primary zoning for inner city areas near transit and main streets

What would this mean? 
 • R-CG and H-GO allow for a much higher density than R-C2. If the city does a blanket rezoning of existing R-C2 parcels to R-CG and H-GO, then a flurry of townhome projects are expected to begin applications on interior facing lots (currently this is only something seen on corner lots or in busy locations). 
 • R-CG and H-GO zoning also allows for basement suites, so we should expect to see these townhome projects include lower level suites, making for 8-10 doors on a standard 50' x 120' lot. 
 • For many inner city homeowners, this means there is a significant chance of seeing a townhome project in close proximity where before none was expected. 
 • If a blanket rezoning occurs in the inner city to RC-G and H-GO, then we may start to see the current value differential between interior and corner lots flatten out as builders and developers are no longer limited to corner lots when looking to build townhomes with suites. 


The City of Calgary has also proposed incentives for homeowners to add secondary suites. Currently, it can cost anywhere from $5,000 - $50,000+ to add a secondary suite. The cost depends on whether an existing suite is being legalized, an existing living space is being converted to a new suite (e.g. a basement), or a new structure entirely is being built (e.g. a backyard suite). Details are yet to be announced, but the city has proposed approximately $10,000 in incentives, which could make the addition of a secondary suite much more attractive for existing homeowners to convert or buyers acquiring an existing property to add a suite. 


The Housing and Affordability Task Force (HATF) has made the recommendation that the current parking minimums for new projects and suites be removed. If the recommendation is enforced, the City will no longer regulate parking minimums, and it will now be up to the land or business owners. This will make multi-family and higher density projects possible on a larger number of sites through the inner city and allow for higher density in general. Currently, the established parking minimums restrict some development or create barriers to density. 

Find more info about that here.


Over the past few years, corner lots have been the number one sought-after development parcel in the inner city. Corner lots already zoned R-CG have been even more desirable as the first hurdle of development (rezoning) has been dealt with. If the city moves ahead with plans for blanket rezoning and the removal of minimum parking guidelines, then suddenly townhouse projects with suites will be feasible on a whole new host of lots throughout the inner city. This means opportunity for this type of project will become much more accessible. It also means it will not be necessary to pay a premium for a corner lot in order to build a townhome project with suites. 


Higher density means more neighbors and more vehicles. Up until now, the highest density on a standard 50' x 120' RC-2 lot was 2 properties with basement suites, so 4 "doors". If the city moves ahead with these plans to allow for higher density on a larger scale, then townhome projects (many with suites) will start to be constructed on interior lots as well, increasing density on this same lot to 4 units with suites, so 8 "doors". This means twice as many neighbors and up to 4 times the vehicles parking on the same street. It also means that landowners may no longer be able to obtain the same premium for their corner lots that they have been of late. 

If you have questions or concerns about how these new strategies affect your current residence or the future market, contact us!