Although the Canadian city of Calgary has traditionally been an affordable place to live, substantial economic and population growth has resulted in an over extended demand on real estate. As a result, house prices in Calgary have increased significantly in recent years (Calgary Real Estate Board, 2007).
Indeed, in November 2006, the city of Calgary became the second most expensive city to reside in (Ibid, 2007). At this time, the Calgary Chamber of Commerce identified affordable housing as one of their top five priority issues of priority. Preliminary research revealed that the Chamber is deeply concerned about the damage the affordable housing crisis is doing too Calgary's economic prosperity. Traditionally, the city's housing market has functioned well; prices were reasonable at 10 percent below the national average and housing was plentiful as most places offered sufficient amenities. Unfortunately, current housing prices, decreases in rental vacancies and escalating rents have undermined the city's reputation as an affordable place to live and work (Calgary Chamber of Commerce, 2007). In the Chambers opinion, this makes it much harder and more expensive to attract and retain employees. As such, the goal of this paper is essentially twofold; first, to ask why house prices have increased significantly since the millennia. Second, to explore how the city of Calgary, comprised of the municipal government, interest groups and the local community, have responded to the demand on real estate and the soaring residential market.
Initially, it may be helpful to qualify that tackling this urban political issue requires a careful analysis of the city's socio-economic and political influences since the turn of the twenty-first century. In doing so, one is able to confine the subject of our discussion to contemporary relevant variables, arguably a more accurate indicator of when real estate prices began to explode in Calgary.
[...] For instance, in April of 2007, the city of Calgary gained 12,000 position of employment, seeing a total growth of In other words, as the demand increased so did the price of the commodity (Calgary Real Estate Board, 2007). In a similar light, consider what Richard Corriveau, the regional director for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp in Calgary, has to say on the issue. For Corriveau, “they're all arriving in search of jobs the three prairie provinces have the lowest unemployment rates in the entire country, and that's contributing to the magnetic draw into those respective markets” (Toneguzzi, 2007). [...]
[...] In the Chambers opinion, the challenge is to respond in a way to the specific problem areas. In conclusion, affordable housing across the city of Calgary is both complex and in some instances contradictory issue. From an administrator's perspective, the issue of affordable housing is secondary to urban sprawl. In attempting to prevent urban sprawl, the municipal government has inadvertently contributed to the increased cost of housing. Despite this, initiatives such as imagineCALGARY and The Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) are positive steps forward in solving the housing crisis. [...]
[...] In the context of our own discussion, te-densifying the core of the city has the potential of slowing urban sprawl; however, it also has the detrimental effect of forcing developers to build on land that is of a premium. The trickling down effect of such high property prices in the downtown core has been of considerable consequence to the cost of residential real estate across the city. As such, the housing market across the city has suffered a drastic increase. Statistics Canada discusses a third possible explanation for soaring residential real estate prices in Calgary. [...]
[...] What is clear however is that the majority of those interested parties agree that recent developments in the oil industry account for a great deal of the growth in residential markets. Indeed, a subject of great interest has been the northern oil sands project. What are known as the Canadian oil sands have been in production since 1967. In 2003, the Albian Sands consortium of Shell Canada, Chevron and Western Oil sands Inc. started production of a third mine in the Athabasca Oil Sands (Ibid, 2007).According to a number of credible sources; it is this project that appears to have played a significant role in the unexpected clime in city's real-estate market. [...]
[...] In reconciliation of the above explanations, it would appear that soaring residential real estate prices in Calgary are a result of an interplay of economic and social phenomenon. The most recent oil sands project and energy boom has brought with it a significant increase in migrants in search of jobs. As a result, the influx in demand has prompted a rather significant increase in the cost of housing. Additionally, the issue of urban sprawl has contributed to an increase in residential real estate prices. [...]
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