Does Calgary Need a New High-rise?
For a city of just over a million people, Calgary’s skyline is quite impressive, and it continues to grow. But is the continued growth sustainable? Does Calgary need another high-rise condo building?
Initial assessment would indicate this is not the case. With a three-year increase (2014 through 2016) in domiciles in the Downtown area of over 10% and a minimal 1.9% population growth over the same period, Calgary finds itself with a surplus of available housing in its core. With another 2,675 domiciles under construction at the time of the most recent census, it is no wonder there are several projects that have stalled, been cancelled, or spent the last several years trying to sell out their final units. Projects like Smith, Guardian, 6th and Tenth to name a few, have been on the market for 5 years or more, constructed, and are still trying to offload units. Clearly a sign of the economic downturn the province of Alberta has experienced.
But is it as dire as first looks suggest?
The energy sector has started to revitalize itself, and oil has remained in a very consistently steady climb since the summer of 2017. On top of this, the unemployment rate in Calgary has dropped from 10.2% to 7.8% over the past year. The city and the province are looking ripe to make a comeback, which may not mean the same rapid expansion seen in years prior to the recession, but is definitely a positive turn.
Within a couple years, should the economic rebound be proven true, Calgary will need places to house the influx of migrants that comes with it. Now may not be the time to launch a new project, but the time will be here again soon.
City of Calgary, “2016 Civic Census Results”. City of Calgary Election and information Services;
CBC, “Alberta unemployment rate falls to lowest level in nearly 2 years.” CBC News Online;
By: Shane Want
RESEARCH DIRECTOR, PARTNER