Calgary rent the highest of major Canadian cities, national data shows

Calgary renters are paying more than other renters in major Canadian cities, according to the latest Canadian Rental Housing Index.

Canadian Rental Housing Index finds Calgary rents higher than Toronto, Vancouver

Calgary has the highest rent of any major Canadian city, according to new date from the Canadian Rental Housing Index. (CBC)

Calgary renters are paying the highest rents among major Canadian cities, according to the latest Canadian Rental Housing Index.

The index shows the average rent in Calgary is $1,123, followed by Vancouver at $1,089 and Toronto at $1,026.

The data was compiled from 2011 Statistic Canada figures and took a detailed look at the state of rental housing by a national partnership of housing organizations and financial institutions,. It also showed two trends emerging at the time:

  • More than 40 per cent of all renter households in Canada were spending more than 30 per cent of their gross income on rent.

  • One in five renter households were spending more than 50 per cent of their gross income on rent, leaving them with a "crisis level of spending." Alberta ranked fourth out of five cities, at 18.8 per cent spending more than half their income on rent. 

The results are from the Canadian Rental Housing Index, an interactive map that uses Statistics Canada census data.

The index examines income, affordability and overcrowding issues in 800 cities and regions across Canada. The Canadian Rental Housing Index also examines rental affordability in all 338 federal ridings.

"The number one pocketbook issue for Canadians is housing affordability, and that pocketbook is getting squeezed," said Tony Roy, CEO of the B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association.

"The situation for those most in need is particularly dire, and is compounded by the lack of federal action on rental housing. We'll likely see the problem get worse before it gets better," he said. 

Meanwhile, a CBC story in August indicated rents in Calgary were going down because supply of rental units was outpacing demand. The Calgary Residential Rental Association said it is taking longer for landlords to find renters, compared to last year. As a result, some were lowering rents and offering incentives.

Small centres not immune to high rents

Other findings in the Canadian Rental Housing Index showed that small towns and cities are not immune to the problem of high rents, including in Alberta:

  • The province has three of the top 10 highest average rent communities in Canada, which includes Fort McMurray ($2,148), Strathcona County ($1,750), and Foothills ($1,129).

  • Smaller centres with "severe" affordability problems include Strathmore, St. Albert, Westlock, Ponoka, Edmonton, Red Deer and Drayton Valley.

Officials behind the Canadian Rental Housing Index plan to use the information to help address future housing needs in Canada by providing the data to housing planners, non-profit housing developers and governments at all levels.  


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