Like most major cities, Calgary is constantly growing both in population and size. With the growth of the city, many communities in the surrounding area have become absorbed into part of a greater whole that comprises the Calgary Metropolitan Region (CMR). Like in the Greater Toronto Area or Metro Vancouver, real estate in the CMR has seen great benefits from the growth experienced in Calgary itself.
These areas can offer a lot of opportunities for investors, but they are often overshadowed by their larger neighbour. In this article, we will look at the different areas in the CMR and why investors may want to consider buying outside of Calgary proper. To help explore the topic, we spoke to Jesse Davies, a top local realtor in the Calgary area who has over a decade of experience working in the region.
According to his own experience helping buyers to invest in the region, Davies says: “Depending on the budget, lifestyle and job location, a lot of buyers are seriously considering some of the outlying communities of Calgary.”
The way that large cities work with their smaller neighbours is something of a symbiotic relationship. The larger city provides jobs and infrastructure for the many residents of the region (and other benefits like an international airport or a professional hockey team), while the smaller towns provide more comfortable, and often less expensive, places for families to settle.
“The neighbouring communities on the outskirts of Calgary can offer a small-town feel, with all amenities that come with a regular city,” explained Davies. “Being within a 30-minute commute to downtown Calgary in communities like Airdrie, Chestermere, Okotoks and Cochrane offer buyers a great alternative to big city living. With average home prices being more affordable it offers a great option for bargain hunters or families not needing to commute to the downtown core for work.”
Because of what many see as a bright future for Calgary, many are beginning to look to the cities in the CMR for investment opportunities. The more that Calgary grows, the more people will be attracted to these outlying cities. By expanding into these surrounding areas, investors can find many new options for property types, amenities, and tenant bases to rent to.
There are a few reasons why investors and buyers may choose to buy in these surrounding communities. One major reason is affordability. While Calgary is already pretty affordable compared to other major cities in Canada, prices have risen a lot in recent years. Many homes in the surrounding municipalities can be had for even less while still enjoying the benefits of being close to the city. Even in an area like Cochrane that displays a higher benchmark price than Calgary itself ($520,000 and $518,600 respectively), it is worth noting that Calgary sees much more apartment and condo sales, which tend to be cheaper and can skew the average.
Another benefit is less competition among buyers. The City of Calgary understandably gets the most attention in the region with 77% of all sales. This has led to the city having low housing inventory at just over one month of supply. In the CMR, there are many cities and towns where housing stock is better than in Calgary, meaning it may be easier to find a property you like.
Finally, these areas outside of the city provide investors with new ways to invest. Take, for example, a city like Canmore (though a bit farther from Calgary) which tends to have high prices due to its appealing location near the mountains. Owning a short-term rental in Canmore may be a very different type of investment than owning a rental home in Okotoks. Each area has its own demographics, housing types, and investment strategies that can offer many opportunities for an investor wise enough to take advantage of them.
Meanwhile, buying in Calgary itself is still just as appealing, but it's all about deciding what you want out of your investment. For example, the condo market in Calgary will only continue to grow as larger residential homes push farther to the boundaries, as has been seen in a city like Toronto. Speaking about the benefits of buying in Calgary proper, Davies says: “As the city starts to readjust to normal life and people begin to return to work in the downtown core, even more buyers are going to be looking at buying in the city. These homes offer the convenience of a commute to the downtown core for work along with easy access to amenities like shopping, entertainment, and nightlife. Calgary offers some amazing inner-city locations with the best of both worlds.”
Whether in Calgary itself or in the surrounding CMR, there are many opportunities for investors looking to take advantage of this increasingly popular real estate market. To learn more about how you can invest in Calgary or to begin on your home buying journey, contact Jesse Davies today. His team has over 15 years of experience helping clients make the right decisions to reach their real estate goals in Calgary.