Developing multifamily housing in Calgary and the surrounding areas comes with many big decisions. Among them is whether to rent or sell the units in your apartment complex, duplex, or condo. 

Each option presents unique opportunities and challenges, influenced by market trends, financial implications, and long-term goals. With Calgary’s dynamic real estate market, vibrant economy, and growing population, developing multifamily residential properties is an important part of meeting the city’s evolving needs.

Currently, Calgary is experiencing a demand for both rental properties and homes for sale, but which is the better option for your business? Assessing property appreciation, management requirements, and market advantages and risks will help you find your answer.

Read on to explore what each path might mean for your business.

Why Develop Multifamily Real Estate?

Considering developing or investing in multifamily real estate in Calgary and the surrounding areas? Here are some of the many benefits that accompany this particular project:

1. High Demand

As urbanization continues and populations grow, there is an increasing demand for housing in city centers and surrounding areas. Multifamily units, such as apartments and condos, cater perfectly to this need. They offer affordable, flexible housing options that are particularly appealing to young professionals, small families, and downsizers. 

2. Maximized Land Use

Multifamily developments make efficient use of land, an important factor in densely populated or land-scarce areas. By building vertically, you can accommodate more residents on a smaller footprint than single-family homes. This maximizes your return on investment for each square foot of land purchased.

3. Diversification of Risk

With multiple units for rent or sale, multifamily properties spread out financial risk. Vacancies in a few units are relatively minor in the overall income stream as they would be with a single-family rental. This diversification offers more income stability and can be more forgiving during economic changes.

4. Attractive Financing Options

Financial institutions often see multifamily developments as lower-risk investments compared to single-family projects. This is because of the steady cash flow generated by multiple tenants. As a result, developers can access better financing rates and terms, which can significantly affect the viability and profitability of projects. CMHC’s financial incentives for rentals.

5. Scalability

For developers looking to scale operations, multifamily projects offer a quicker path to growing a real estate portfolio. Each project can significantly increase the number of units in your portfolio, and with each unit, there is a potential for revenue generation. This makes it easier to expand and leverage larger projects over time.

6. Strong Return on Investment

Multifamily units can generate a substantial and steady cash flow from rent fees, often leading to a strong return on investment. Additionally, strategic property improvements and management can increase overall property value, leading to higher resale values or refinancing options.

7. Opportunity for Community Creation

Developers have the unique opportunity to create entire communities from the ground up. This can increase tenant satisfaction and retention, particularly if the development includes shared amenities like gyms, pools, community gardens, and other social gathering spaces. 

8. Legacy & Impact

Multifamily housing developments can significantly impact the local community by providing much-needed housing, stimulating local economies, and even setting the standard for future developments. This contributes to a long-lasting legacy in the community, positioning a developer as a key stakeholder in urban development.

    Homes depicting new housing bylaws in Calgary Alberta

    Multifamily Housing in Calgary: To Rent or Sell?

    Part of planning your multifamily development in Calgary and the surrounding areas includes deciding whether to rent out or sell the units. Learn about the pros and cons of each option ahead.

    Renting Out Multi-family Developments

    Renting out a multifamily development means you’ll have multiple tenants who pay you rental fees monthly, or at an agreed-upon term. Here are the pros and cons:


    • Steady Income Stream: Rental properties provide a consistent source. This passive income is particularly appealing in a stable or growing rental market like Calgary, where there is continuous demand from young professionals and small families.
    • Long-Term Property Value Appreciation: Owning rental property is not just about monthly income, it’s also an investment in real estate that may appreciate over time, depending on the market conditions.
    • Tax Advantages: Operating rental properties allows for various tax deductions, including maintenance, property management expenses, and mortgage interest, which can significantly reduce your taxable income.


    • Management Requirements: Rental properties require ongoing management, including tenant relations, property maintenance, and compliance with rental regulations. This can be time-consuming unless you delegate to a property management company.
    • Market Fluctuations: Economic downturns can affect rental income, which may lead to higher vacancy rates or decreased rental rates.

    Selling Multifamily Developments

    Selling units in a multifamily development transfers ownership from the building owner to the buyer. After purchasing all units, the new owners will be responsible for maintaining the common areas or paying fees for their upkeep. The pros and cons include:


    • Immediate Returns: Selling housing units allows for immediate capital return. You can reinvest this into other projects quicker than waiting for rental incomes to accumulate.
    • Reduced Management Responsibilities: After selling units, you don’t have to worry about managing or maintaining them daily. This gives you the chance to focus on new projects.
    • Market Advantage: In a seller’s market, you can capitalize on high demand and potentially achieve higher profit margins.


    • Market Risks: The market for sales can be volatile. Economic changes can significantly impact your ability to sell units at expected prices or may lead to longer sales periods.
    • One-Time Profit: Unlike rentals, where the profit is ongoing, sales provide a one-time profit per unit, requiring continuous new developments to sustain income.
    Houndsfield Heights Contemporary Home Design

    Building the Future of Multifamily Developments in Calgary & Beyond

    Deciding whether to develop multifamily housing for rent or resale largely depends on your company’s financial health, market understanding, and risk tolerance. 

    If your strategy aligns more with steady income and long-term investment, developing for rent could be the way to go. However, if immediate returns and lower post-sale responsibilities align better with your business model, developing for resale might be the better option.

    Whether for rent or resale, your developments have the potential to shape the city’s housing landscape significantly. Contact Ellergodt Design today to discuss your next multifamily housing project in Calgary and the surrounding areas.


    What is multifamily housing?

    Multifamily properties have multiple rental units or units for sale. Many different types of multifamily properties exist including:

    • Apartment buildings
    • Condo complexes 
    • Retirement homes
    • Duplexes and triplexes
    • Low-income housing complexes

    How much does it cost to build a multifamily home?

    The cost of building a multifamily home varies from project to project. Factors that affect the overall price include location, building size, unit configuration, construction materials, labor costs, design and architectural services, amenities, permits, and more. For an accurate idea of what your multifamily development, get in touch with our team.