Renters Get Their Due
The market for apartments is currently a bright spot in Calgary. It just might have long-term benefits as well.
Despite its current economic woes Calgary’s population is still growing. These new arrivals and a surplus of office space have led some developers to convert downtown towers to rental properties.
This is a clever way of dealing with the glut of empty offices. But there is another factor driving the switch. Rental properties are a fast-growing segment of the market throughout Western Canada.
In Calgary, the health of the sector can be seen in statistics and in the skyline. In terms of numbers, multi-family project starts are up strongly this year. This means new buildings are going up alongside those office and hotel conversions. The trend can also be seen in other ways. The developer Rndsqr recently decided to rent out some units in its Courtyard 33 project in Marda Loop.
A lot of this work is taking place downtown or in established areas. It is aimed at younger residents. In the past, these people might have been taking their first steps into the housing market. But with the mortgage stress test making it harder for young people to buy homes and the general economic uncertainty many are deciding to rent.
It’s a trend that might play into The City of Calgary’s growth goals. The Municipal Development Plan calls for half of population growth to be accommodated in established areas by 2069. New buildings with plenty of amenities are bringing more people to these neighbourhoods.
And while no one wants the current economic malaise to persist, there may be a silver lining. The increased popularity of rentals in established areas means they are becoming livelier places. And they might have some longevity as well. Who knows — when better economic times return, renters might take the plunge and buy a place of their own. They’d likely decide to do that in the neighbourhoods they’ve come to love.