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Top 5 Calgary Homebuying Hotspots: Best places to own a home in Calgary

Posted by Elite Home on Sunday, May 12th, 2019 at 10:38am.

 

We’ve all heard that Calgary real estate right now is a “buyers’ market”, which is great news for many folks! And here at Elite Home Real Estate, we’ve had a good number of calls from savvy homebuyers who aren’t just looking to take advantage of this buyers’ market – they’re looking to buy a home somewhere that will give them the biggest bang for their bucks, both now and down the road.

Cartoon of a Calgary homebuyer watering her money tree 

In our decades of combined Calgary real estate experience, our agents have learned a ton tricks for spotting the right neighbourhoods for wise property purchases… And one of the biggest tricks we’ve learned is to follow the money.

On the Right Calgary Real Estate Purchasing Path

But what does this even mean? Basically, communities that are experiencing an increase in investment is where buyers are likely to find long term value – especially in a down market where investors are looking to cash in on deals (like the kind of market Calgary is currently in). 

The trick is to buy in the right market before it gets saturated… Which can be easier said than done. After all, how does the average Calgary home buyer know when a certain community has reached peak investment?

It’s with this in mind that we’re writing this blog post. We want to help you get started off right by following the data trail for you, so you can learn where money is being invested right now.

Cartoon of a Calgary realtor following a trail

Show Me the (Property & Building Permit Investment) Money!

For the record, we’re not basing these recommendations off guessing, hunches, or eye tests. Our data is pulled straight from the City of Calgary database on construction permits, and goes as far back as 2010. 

Furthermore, we have three qualifiers that we used as a threshold for whether a community has received an adequate level of investment to warrant our interest:

  •       Permit applications for construction over $100,000
  •       Permit applications for residential single construction permits
  •       The applications were made in an established neighbourhood (to ensure we’re comparing apples to apples!)

The results we found show a few fairly distinct pockets where communities are picking up steam, though most communities saw significant drop offs.

Here, without further ado, is what we found for you:

  1.     The Bow Trail Corridor

Data shows that this is the hottest pocket of investment in the city right now, and for good reason! The location has exceptional connections to major routes, transit, amenities, and schools. Commutes downtown from any of these neighbourhoods will rarely go over 20 minutes, even with traffic. 

 What’s more, large lots and a quiet lifestyle offer the work-life balance that many are seeking for their families.  Take a look at the neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood breakdown:

Shaganappi

Shaganappi is looking to be the new Killarney – it’s seen investments go up every year since 2014, with this past year (2018) not seeing a single application below $300,000! Further, all of these applications have yet to be completed (so their value has yet to be added to the market, meaning property prices are still comparatively low).

 This was a strong investment market before the recession, and has only ramped up since then. Shaganappi’s truly got in all in terms of connectivity (road, transit, & bike infrastructure), access to amenities and recreation, schools, safety – all the markers of stability in long term value! So while Killarney looks to be tapped out, Shaganappi is on the path to becoming the new hotspot in West Calgary (and potentially the whole city, though there are some communities that might have something to say about that!)

The numbers: 

  •       Price floor:

                                               i.     Land: $383,000

                                             ii.     Apartment: $410,000

                                            iii.     Attached: $589,500

                                            iv.     Detached: $499,900

- Pre 2014 average: $1,847,887.91

- Post 2014 average: $ 2,356,592.59

28% increase between pre- and post-recession price floors.

Average yearly investment per resident: $1,504

Rosscarrock

Rosscarrock is the other hot market in the Bow Trail corridor region, seeing benefits from much of the same qualities as Shaganappi. 

Its overall investment is not quite as strong due to weaker connectivity metrics, but the floor to get in the market reflects this and is lower here. However, there is also a larger stock of homes that were all built in the 60’s and 70’s on large lots with mature trees... So if Shaganappi is out of reach for you then Rosscarrock moiht just be where you want to look next.

The numbers:

  •       Current Price floor:

                                               i.     Apartment: $140,000

                                             ii.     Attached: $389,900

                                            iii.     Detached: $469,900

- Pre 2014 average: $2,810,443.09 (Per resident: $824.66)

- Post 2014 average: $3,340,308.23 (Per resident: $980.14)

19% increase between pre- and post-recession price floors. 

Patterson

Investment in Patterson is skyrocketing, even if it’s spread out among a comparatively larger housing supply. 

 The level of investment is nothing to sneer at; since 2015, the average construction application has been for $566,879.96 – double that of nearby Rosscarrock.

That said, a notable drawback here is that the floor to get in the market is also higher. However, there are excellent options if you’re willing to look for dwelling options outside of the classic single family detached home.  But even if you don’t, you’re going to get a very good deal in the long term! 

The numbers:

  •       Current Price floor:

                                               i.     Apartment: $140,000

                                             ii.     Attached: $310,000

                                            iii.     Detached: $588,800

- Pre 2014 average: $1,229,694.53 ($282.69 per resident)

- Post 2014 average: $2,550,959.81 ($586.43 per resident)

107% increase between pre- and post-recession price floors. 

Wildwood

Though Wildwood is undoubtedly still a hot market, it is starting to cool off. 

Yet the high level of investment continues to impress. Admittedly, there are signs of saturation starting to appear despite the high level of investment continuing through the recession.  And the boat to get the best deals here may have sailed a couple years ago which, coupled with a relatively small housing supply, will likely put this community out of reach very shortly… But there are still a couple homes available for under $500,000, so you might want to move fast on them!

The numbers:

  •       Current price floor:

                                               i.     Apartment: N/A

                                             ii.     Attached: N/A

                                            iii.     Detached: $435,000

- Pre 2014: $2,120,926.16 (per resident: $785.53)

- Post 2014: $2,046,044.31 (per resident: $757.79)

4% decrease between pre- and post-recession price floors.

Google Map of the Bow Trail Corridor with community stats super-imposed

  1.     The Glenmore Reservoir

The communities of Lakeview and North Glenmore have experienced some really strong growth since 2014. 

Both these neighbourhoods have seen increases in investment above 50%. And what’s the main driver?  It’s that the completion of Tsuu T’ina Trail is fast approaching. 

This major infrastructure upgrade will substantially cut travel times between these communities and SW Calgary (not to mention improving connections to the NW).  This will add a significant, immediately recognizable, and permanent value boost. 

It’s also not just residential developers who are investing in communities around the Glenmore Reservoir – major commercial development is coming from the Tsuu T’ina reserve (find link), who are also confident about this stretch of land.

There is a lot to like about the future of these communities. Their convenient locations close to major routes, the fact that they’re already established Calgary neighbourhoods with a proud history, and their proximity to the tranquil shores of the Glenmore Reservoir all contribute to the allure of the following neighbourhoods.

The main drawback here is the relatively high floor to get in. Neither community has detached homes available for under $500,000, but there is still a modest smattering of attached row houses and condos to choose from. 

Access to one of Calgary’s best outdoor spaces with the Glenmore Reservoir makes this spot a favourite for the outdoorsy and/or active residents. 

Adding to this is the charm of the Heritage Park steam engine, which contributes a uniquely historic vibe. 

There’s not much to separate the neighbourhoods of Lakeview and North Glenmore as they’re both in the same area with the same types of amenities.  However, Lakeview is the cheaper option… for now.

Lakeview

                                               i.     Current price floor

  1.     Apartment: N/A
  2.     Attached: $339,000
  3.     Detached: $549,000

                                             ii.     Pre 2014

  1.     Average overall investment: $2,839,161.00
  2.     Per resident investment: $518.47
  3.     Average permit application cost estimate: $330,135.00

                                            iii.     Post 2014

  1.     Average overall investment: $4,808,924.79
  2.     Per resident investment: $878.18
  3.     Average permit application cost estimate: $377,170.57

 

Increase of 69% between pre- and post-recession price floors.

 

                                               i.     Current price floor

  1.     Apartment: $379,500
  2.     Attached: $480,000
  3.     Detached: $649,000

                                             ii.     Pre 2014

  1.     Average overall investment per year: $ 2,960,041.65
  2.     Per resident investment: $1,243.712
  3.     Average permit application cost estimate: $296,004.16

 

                                            iii.     Post 2014

  1.     Average overall investment per year: $4,206,013.13
  2.     Per resident investment: $1,767.23
  3.     Average permit application cost estimate: $382,364.83

 

Increase of 42% between pre- and post-recession price floors.

 

 

  1.     Albert Park

 

If you’re looking off the radar then here’s an inner city community in NE Calgary should be catching your attention: Albert Park. 

 

There are some incredible deals here, with a trajectory that’s only heading in one direction – straight up!

 

If you have a restricted price range and want to get in on this buyer’s market, then here is where you should very seriously consider looking. Big developers have been putting money into this overlooked community for a while, with mid-scale condo complexes currently in the works. 

 

Its proximity to downtown places your car-bound commute at the 15-minute mark, with very strong alternate options for those who prefer transit and cycling.  Connections to major routes are attractive too, since Albert Park sits nicely at the nexus of Deerfoot Trail and Memorial. 

 

Affordably priced houses on big lots that are primed and ready for upgrading or even outright replacing are on the menu in this unassuming community. Investors with their ears on the ground have already discovered this and are starting to turn some focused eyes to Albert Park.

 

In fact, since the recession, construction has only ratcheted up in the area – overall permit applications increasing 33%, comparing 2010 to 2014 with 2015 to 2018 (with more applications being submitted over the shorter time frame of 2015-2018).  

 

The numbers:

                                               i.     Current price floor

  1.     Apartment: $170,000
  2.     Attached: $145,000
  3.     Detached: $305,000

                                             ii.     Pre 2014

  1.     Average overall investment per year: $681,345.47
  2.     Per resident investment: $104.36
  3.     Average permit application cost estimate: $189,262.63

 

                                            iii.     Post 2014

  1.     Average overall investment per year: $1,218,331.21
  2.     Per resident investment: $186.60
  3.     Average permit application cost estimate: $203,055.20

 

Increase of 79% between pre- and post-recession price floors.

 

 

  1.     Bowness

 

This one comes as no surprise for “in the know” Calgarians.

 

Bowness has long been a unique and character-filled community that resiliently holds its own identity within the encroaching Calgary area. Life here truly feels like a town unto itself, so it’s no surprise that this resilient and eclectic community is holding strong – its investment levels barely changed after 2014, only modestly increasing by 13% in average dollars spent. 

 

The price floor to get in here is equally as modest, with detached homes running at $299,000. You might not find as a high of a ceiling in terms of value, but buying here is a very safe, stable bet. Even better, the mixture of housing available leaves something for everyone… Not to mention that Bowness Park is an absolute gem among Calgary’s (many) beautiful outdoor attractions.

 

The numbers:

 

                                               i.     Current price floor

  1.     Apartment: $129,900
  2.     Attached: $ 195,000
  3.     Detached: $299,000

                                             ii.     Pre 2014

  1.     Average overall investment per year: $681,345.47
  2.     Per resident investment: $104.36
  3.     Average permit application cost estimate: $189,262.63

 

                                            iii.     Post 2014

  1.     Average overall investment per year: $1,218,331.21
  2.     Per resident investment: $186.60
  3.     Average permit application cost estimate: $203,055.20

Increase of 79% between pre- and post-recession price floors.

 

 

  1.     Crowchild Trail Corridor

 

Bringing up the rear are the two larger communities lying along Crowchild Trail near the University of Calgary of Brentwood and Dalhousie.  Both of these communities have seen only moderate investment above $100,000 since 2014, but in the current market even that is a promising sign. 

 

There are large homes here that were built in the 1970’s on impressively large lots, making this a pretty popular family area. It seems that the proximity of these communities to the UofC is driving a lot of this investment – we say this because most of the permit applications and investments have gone into upgrading basement suites. 

 

It’s “unlikely” the University of Calgary is going to be moved anywhere (“unlikely = basically impossible), so these communities should hold their value as income properties through up and down markets. 

 

Dalhousie and Brentwood are also just incredibly lovely places to live, with excellent access to major routes, LRT stations, and all the amenities you could possibly need for life’s necessities & entertainment.  Having Nose Hill Park for a backyard isn’t too shabby either!

The numbers:

Brentwood

                                               i.     Current price floor

  1.     Apartment: $275,000
  2.     Attached: $459,999
  3.     Detached: $469,500

                                             ii.     Pre 2014

  1.     Average investment per year: $682,876.25
  2.     Per resident investment: $110.03
  3.     Average permit application cost estimate: $284,532

 

                                            iii.     Post 2014

  1.     Average overall investment per year: $1,123,269.75
  2.     Per resident investment: $181.00
  3.     Average permit application cost estimate: $299,538.60

Increase of 64% between pre- and post-recession price floors.

 

Dalhousie

Cheaper homes and a larger housing supply can be found here compared to Brentwood, although detached homes run at about the same. Something to note, however, is the larger average investment in Dalhousie – over $100,000 more per construction project compared to Brentwood. That is some significant long-term value being baked into the community, which might just give Dalhousie a slight edge over Brentwood. 

 

 

                                            iv.     Current price floor

  1.     Apartment: $139,888
  2.     Attached: $219,888
  3.     Detached: $465,000

                                              v.     2010 - 2014

  1.     Average investment per year: $879,627.20
  2.     Per resident investment: $95.76
  3.     Average permit application cost estimate: $274,883.50

 

                                            vi.     2015 - 2018

  1.     Average overall investment per year: $1,418,521.76
  2.     Per resident investment: $154.42
  3.     Average permit application cost estimate: $405,291.93

Increase of 61% between pre- and post-recession price floors.

 

 

Tapped out:

Like we mentioned, there are a whole lot of Calgary communities that are veritably saturated in the Calgary real estate market right now. Areas such as Woodbine, Country Hills, Signal Hill, and many more have experienced relatively dramatic drops in building permit applications.

Overall, there was a 25% drop in residential building permit applications in Calgary from 2014 to 2015, and the stats have failed to really recover much since then.  Many established communities are showing clear signs of being officially “tapped out” for the time being, with many building permit application drops being even more severe at around 40% in these communities. 

This is not to say that you should not look at buying a home in these communities – much like this awesome city as a whole, each Calgary community has something special to offer those who choose to make a home within their boundaries. However, if you’re hoping to invest in a home that is both affordable and has the potential of appreciating in value in the comparative shorter term then the above communities are where we recommend you turn your savvy homebuyer eye!

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