Rent in Calgary has jumped by nearly 40 per cent since before the pandemic

As the cost of living goes up in Alberta, access to affordable housing seems
to be going down for many people.


According to an online report by Rental.ca, the cost of renting a two-
bedroom apartment in Edmonton is now as much as rent for a one-bedroom
apartment in Calgary and experts say that is unsustainable.

Niraj Dobaraya posing for a photo in his living room. (Photo by Paritosh Hirulkar/The Press)


Just like Dhaval Pandya who moved from Toronto to Calgary, many other
people are finding out about the drastic changes in Calgary’s housing
market.


“The housing market is getting expensive day by day and harder to afford, I
wish I had more information on the housing situation here,” said Pandya.


According to a Housing Needs Assessment, report released by the City of
Calgary, there has been an almost 40 per cent increase in rent and a 37 per
cent increase in the price of a detached home since 2020.

A graph representing and comparing CalgaryÕs housing market from 2020 and 2023.


The report also found that Calgarians spend more than 30 per cent of their
income on housing.


Even though the city of Calgary has avoided answering any questions on this
issue, they are trying to do some damage control by bringing the housing
affordability task force to ensure that Calgary citizens do not have to spend
more than 30 per cent of their income.


Volga Pannu who works as a security officer at a hospital has been a
homeowner for many years.

“In my experience, interest rates increasing on mortgages has caused rent to
increase,” she said.


The Bank of Canada has repeatedly raised its key interest rate over the past
year, to fight inflation. This has also made it more difficult for those with a
mortgage to keep up with payments.


There are many people in Calgary who blame landlords for an increase in
rent and in many situations, this may or may not be fair to them.


“I am attempting to make rent as affordable as I can for my tenants,
however, when I renewed my mortgage, the new interest rate increased my
mortgage by $500 a month, I had no choice by to raise the rent for my
tenants on their rental renewal, said Pannu


Making this situation worse for students, the minimum wage is only $15 for
Alberta.


Saurabh Thorve is a recent graduate from Southern Alberta Institute of
Technology, an institute in Calgary.


Throve works a minimum-wage job and is financially frustrated.


“This situation is affecting me a lot mentally and because of it I am unable to
save any money,” he said.

Roommates sitting and talking while two of them looking through their parcel from India. (Photo by Paritosh Hirulkar/The Press)


There are some Calgarians such as Nika Kuperis who are moving out of the
city to maintain a better standard of life.


“I would rather commute to the city than live here,” she said.


According to The Canadian Real Estate Association around 33,958 people
moved to Alberta, which is 5.8 per cent more than 2022.

Kuperis believes that the government is not doing anything to increase
housing, even though a lot of people are migrating to Calgary from around
Canada, and this is making housing costly.


Calgary’s Housing Assessment Needs states that the population of Calgary is
expected to increase by 1.5 million.


Calgary is ranked as the 24th most expensive city to live in Canada which is
way below Vancouver or Toronto.


The rate of household needs indicates that households that earn less than
65 per cent of the average salary and spend more than 30 per cent of their
income in Calgary is just as much as the national rate.


These data show that Calgary is on the verge of becoming as costly as
Toronto or Vancouver when it comes to housing.


Niraj Dobaraya is an international student who is currently studying at the
University of Calgary.


This situation has become really hard for students as they are not even able
to afford a single room to themselves.

Niraj Dobaraya studying in his room. (Photo by Paritosh Hirulkar/The Press)


Students have started sharing rooms with unknown people they meet.
“I would prefer to have a room by myself, but I can’t really afford it,” said
Dobaraya.


While students like Dobaraya had to share their rooms with friends or
people they barely knew, there are some students who are able to share
their rooms with their siblings.


Saurabh Thorve and his sister Sayali Thorve rented a two-bedroom
apartment and because of increased rent, they have now moved to a four-
bedroom house so that they can share a house with five others.

“I wish I could go back to 2020 when the rents were affordable, even though
I love living with my friends it sometimes feels like seven people in a house
is too much. We sometimes have to wait in line just to use the bathroom,
said Sayali.


While some are worried about their current situation others are worried
about the next generation.


Parents are worried about their children not able to afford a place to live.
They are worried that it may impact their mental health.


Long-time homeowner Rod Miller is going through the same feeling.


“It is a challenge for my children since they are at their home-buying age and
it is just incredibly hard and costly to buy a house with this mortgage rate,”
said Miller.