Alberta’s big cities are among Canada’s most affordable

Wednesday, October 14, 2020   /   by Sergey Korostensky

Alberta’s big cities are among Canada’s most affordable

Calgary and Edmonton are the most affordable major markets for first-time home buyers and offer more ‘elbow room’ than cities such as Toronto or Vancouver, says Jannine Rane, head of communications at Zoocasa, an online real estate information portal.

“To understand how current home prices compare to the past, Zoocasa used data from the Canadian Real Estate Association to highlight trends in benchmark home prices for apartments and single-family homes in 15 Canadian regions over the past five years, (highlighting) the extent to which benchmark home prices grew or contracted in each region and offering a glimpse at where housing is more or less affordable than it was five years ago,” says Rane. “Overall, the Canadian benchmark apartment price rose a staggering 52 percent in five years, from $315,600 in August 2015 to $478,700 in August 2020. The benchmark price for single-family houses across Canada rose 40 percent from $486,800 to $683,400.”

Canada’s two largest cities influenced the national numbers, with Vancouver seeing the apartment benchmark increase 63 percent to $685,800 and the single-family benchmark price escalating 28 percent to $1,501,900. In Toronto, the apartment benchmark price soared a whopping 78 percent to $592,900 and the single-family benchmark increased 51 percent to $999,200.

All things are not equal across the country.

The affordability of Alberta’s cities is good news for buyers but not so good for current homeowners.

“Overall, Prairie cities offer first-time home buyers some of the best affordability, with benchmark prices under $250,000 for apartments and under $500,000 for single-family homes this August,” says Rane. “In fact, the Prairies are one of the few regions where a benchmark apartment and single-family home is more affordable today than it was five years ago.”

Calgary’s benchmark apartment price was $248,500 in August 2020, dropping 14 percent or $41,900 since 2015. The benchmark single-family home in Calgary is $466,000, a six percent drop or $30,800 less than five years ago. In Edmonton, the benchmark apartment is down 17 percent, or $37,300, less than it was five years ago at $183,900 and the benchmark single-family home was $377,300 in August this year, versus $396,800 in August 2015, a drop of five percent or $19,500.

A growing number of buyers is looking to suburban and rural markets in search of greater square footage relative to what’s available in denser urban centres, says Rane.

“Given their proximity to the Canadian Rockies, Calgary and Edmonton offer good opportunities for buyers with remote-working flexibility seeking greater square footage and green space,” she says. “Comparatively, the benchmark apartment price in Toronto is nearly double the price of the benchmark apartment in Calgary and the benchmark single-family house in Toronto is more than double Calgary. Additionally, both Calgary and Edmonton have a much lower population density at approximately 1,900 and 1,400 people per square kilometre, respectively, compared to 4,700 people per square kilometre in Toronto.”

By Calgary Sun Myke Thomas

Publishing date:
Oct 10, 202