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The Calgary Real Estate Market

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The Calgary real estate market is one of the hottest in Canada, struggling to keep up with the city’s economy. The vacancy rate is less than 2% and rents are raised at every opportunity. Housing prices are high, with the average price for a single-family detached home at $556,402. What follows is a brief overview of what you can buy with how much.

It must be strange for American personal finance bloggers to see what the house prices are in Canada (bloggers that don’t live in expensive American cities, that is) because in the US PF world, home ownership is one of the single best shortcuts to wealth building. Up north, it’s a much bigger pain in the ass, and if not approached with caution and executed correctly, the damage to your net worth might take decades to fix.

The Calgary Real Estate Market

calgary real estate market

cheery advertisement in a local Calgary magazine. 2 bedrooms for less than $400,000?? WHAT A STEAL

When I searched Calgary on the MLS.ca website, it returned 4,679 listings. At first glance, that might seem like a decent number, but for a city with population of 1.2 million and ever-growing, it’s insufficient — especially when you consider what the first few listings are:

$0 to $250,000

Cheapest: $10,000. 

calgary real estate market

No, seriously. For $10K you can buy a delightful little home & garage.. but you have to remove it from the lot (at your own cost). This is a mobile home you need to pick up & move, because you can’t have the land its on.

The first non-trailer is priced at $119,000 for a one-bedroom apartment in the middle of nowhere. It’s a little bit shady,

calgary real estate market

FYI: I had to click through to $160,000+ just to get out of the trailers and mobile homes.

Top of the price range $249,900 will get you a 1 bedroom condo near the centre of the city or a 2 bedroom townhouse in suburbia, your choice.

calgary real estate market

623 sq ft for 1 bedroom, 1 bath NOT on the ground floor in Sunnyside, a nice neighbourhood accessible by train and where you’re unlikely to be murdered. Not too shabby. And you only pay $387/mo in condo fees. Woohoo!

$500,000 – $750,000

$500,000 will buy you this gorgeous 990 sq ft 19th floor condo in Calgary’s downtown

calgary real estate market

…or this terribly boring 1,477 sq ft beige outfit in suburbia:

calgary real estate market

For $750,000 you can buy a 1.5 storey 1,600 sq ft “character home” in Sunalta

calgary real estate market

While I love what they’ve done with the kitchen you’ll probably have to replace those front steps!

$1,000,000

For a cool million you can get this uber modern house of glass inside the city:

calgary real estate market

1,824 sq ft four bedroom and 4 bathrooms. Spacious and gorgeous, but a little too pristine for my tastes.

While the Calgary real estate market isn’t as terrifying as that of Toronto or Vancouver, it’s not exactly welcoming. Finding an affordable home that isn’t in total disrepair and still reasonably within city limits is a challenge. However, while we all balk at the high housing prices here, most people earn enough money to make purchasing houses at these high prices a reality.

The median household income in Calgary is the highest in the country at $98,300this means essentially half of the city’s households gross six-figures.

This is almost $25,000 higher than the national average and $40,000 higher than the median household income in the USA

Calgarians are rich.

I didn’t find any surprises in my real estate search, except maybe that trailer parks are a real thing. Right now, the Calgary real estate market is too hot for me to handle, but I’m hoping it cools off a bit soon.

REAL ESTATE COMPARISON IN OTHER CITIES

CANADA

U.S.A.

NEW ZEALAND


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  1. The cost of living seems quite high in Calgary, but at least income levels are high as well :) Those property values are similar to prices in Vancouver, at least for the low to mid value range. A 2 bedroom apartment in the suburbs like mine is worth about $250K to $300K. The luxury condo and detached housing market is a different story though.

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  2. I think you hit the nail on the head: Yes, Calgary’s real estate market is pricey but at least incomes are high enough to support it! Toronto’s RE market is brutal and I absolutely cannot get over how inexpensive housing is in the US! I read Afford Anything pretty regularly and her real estate investing articles always blow my mind.

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  3. Wow those are high. We have been browsing our area as well… might need to consult and get pre approved soon just to see how much our target will be. But yeah, the nicer the neighborhood the higher the price and I dont know if I would want to do a fixer upper either. But its always exciting seeing whats available out there

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  4. Anne @ Money Propeller

    And you didn’t even mention the part where you have to act QUICKLY to get a place in Calgary. Many things sell before they are even officially on the market. The last house purchase I know details about, they had to convince the real estate agent to let them see the house half an hour before the open house, and submitted an offer as soon as the open house started.

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  5. Wow, I didn’t know there were that many trailer parks in Calgary either! I guess I just imagined they were all up in oil country.

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    • Bridget (Author)

      There aren’t many trailer parks in Calgary. Housing is expensive, there’s not a lot of low-income housing. With more than half of households grossing $100,000 a year, not very many people live in trailer parks..

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      • Koala

        I knew someone who lived in a trailer park in Calgary. I didn’t get it, on top of the mortgage for the trailer, most charge rent for the land. I guess you aren’t at the mercy of a landlord quite as much, but still I think between the two I would rather rent!

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  6. PK

    I love the realtor’s description on the $750,000 house: “and the basement is unspoiled”.

    Excellent comparison; great to see what makes Calgary tick. That downtown high rise is beautiful.

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    • Bridget (Author)

      haha maybe that’s just saying it was damaged in the flood of 2013? A lot of buildings/houses you couldn’t even move back into until this year.

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  7. Arshes76

    One word. Bubble.

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  8. Damn, I had no idea how expensive Calgary is! Any idea why Canadian real estate can be so much more expensive that the U.S.?

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  9. taylorqlee

    This seems pretty much in line or slightly less than where I’m living now (major US city). Though I don’t think the median income in my city is anywhere near the median income in Calgary. *looks up on Google* Holy… yeah our average wages are 25% less than yours but our housing is 15% more expensive. I’m going to go cry in a corner now and send bottle up some of my tears to send with next month’s rent check.

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  10. The housing prices are a little high in Calgary, but personally you get alot more for your money out there than where I currently live. And in YYC you can make more money, less taxes, cheaper everything in my opinion (when I lived there) The only things that were higher to me is housing costs, utilities. (if I was to buy at that point).. rent was comparable to MB. Once we are done school we are planning to move out there again and buy. The quality of life is so much better :)

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  11. Compared to Toronto, especially taking the higher income, I’d take Calgary! I considered moving there, but all my family (and I have a lot) in Toronto. Now with a kiddo, that counts for a lot more (free babysitting).

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    • Bridget (Author)

      That’s true, the high incomes in Calgary make the houses way way more affordable even if their highly priced.

      And def no free babysitting in Calgary… but lower taxes so maybe it evens out? haha

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  12. Great post, Bridget! At least you don’t get hit with a double land transfer tax in Calgary like Toronto. It’s crazy how quickly real estate prices have gone up. My house, an average three-bedroom bungalow is worth over $550K – 15 years ago I could have bought it for under $200K. Imagine, my house might be worth $1 million in 10 years if house prices continue to go crazy!

    Reply