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June 6 2024

Calgary business calls for government collaboration to address housing affordability

Calgary, AB, June 6, 2024 – Calgary’s population has skyrocketed over the past year, welcoming over 96,000 new residents – and with a rapid rise in population comes an increase in demand for goods and services, notably housing. A new report today from the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, entitled Home Economics: Unlocking Growth through Housing Solutions, raises concern over waning housing affordability in Calgary and offers recommendations to all levels of government to address the housing crisis and curb the pace at which house prices are rising. As our economy grows, businesses need our talent pool to grow – which is only possible if we have the infrastructure to support our evolving city.

“We know that for our economy to prosper, we need to set people up for success – and that means we need appropriate and affordable housing. Affordability has long been a part of Calgary’s competitive advantage, but with housing demand outstripping supply, that affordability is at risk,” says Deborah Yedlin, CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. “With this report, we call on all levels of government to collaborate on solutions to address housing affordability and ensure our economy can continue to flourish.”

To meet Canada’s demand for housing, we need to double homebuilding rates from 240,000 to 500,000 per year. However, builders face significant challenges to access the labour, materials, capital and land required – all of which have become less available and more expensive. As a result, housing starts across the country have been relatively flat while demand rises, resulting in a dramatic increase in the cost of housing.

“Currently, one in five Calgary households are unable to afford where they live,” says Yedlin. “If we want to have a vibrant and prosperous economy with an engaged and growing labour force, we need to ensure everyone has a dignified place to live, regardless of their income level, background or distance to transportation infrastructure.”

The report offers several recommendations to all three levels of government to move the needle on addressing the housing crisis across Canada. Key recommendations include:

Governments are starting to address these concerns: Canada launched its Housing Plan; the provincial government committed to jumpstart new builds in Budget 2024; and Calgary City Council has recently made changes to its zoning.

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About the Calgary Chamber of Commerce

The Calgary Chamber of Commerce exists to help businesses reach their potential. As the convenor and catalyst for a vibrant, inclusive and prosperous business community, the Chamber works to build strength and resilience among its members and position Calgary as a magnet for talent, diversification and opportunity. As an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organization founded in 1891, we build on our history to serve and advocate for businesses of all sizes, in all sectors across the city.

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