Living in Calgary - A Guide to Moving to Calgary with Chamberlain Real Estate Group

living_in_calgaryMoving to a new city and having a fresh start is exciting. Calgary is an incredible city with lots to offer, and when you are living in Calgary, one of the most important things to get right is the pronunciation. For real! Sounds silly, but true! Those of us who have lived in Calgary for a long time pronounce it Calg'ry... The 'a' is almost silent. We can tell if you are from here or not because of this one simple trick. So, to fit in and become a true Calgarian, this is your first step to making the best of living in Calgary!

We love this fantastic city. Calgary has so much to offer in terms of lifestyle for you and your family. When moving to Calgary, there are some specific things that we will cover below that will help you get around and learn more about ours, and your future city.

Recently, the Economist Intelligence Unit unveiled their picks for the most liveable cities in the world. Calgary, which usually features pretty highly on the list, was stunned to discover that they ranked the highest in not just Canada but also across North America. We’re pretty comfortable with the fact that people love living here, but this news was exceptional. Other Canadian cities like Vancouver or Toronto were also featured on the list but haven't topped the score the EIU gave us.

How does this affect you? This can only be good news. The city has made aggressive steps to improve the infrastructure here. We see massive steps like the redevelopment of the East Village, the announcement of the Green Line C-Train, and the completion of the Stoney Trail Ring Road as steps in the right direction. This should massively boost the economy’s growth and recovery, a sign that prices are going to continue to rise in the future. It’s this display of faith in the city’s potential that will give investors and homebuyers the push they need to get back into real estate here.

Quick Facts about Calgary

  • We are home to over 1.4 million people.
  • Calgary is the most affordable places to live in North America (Check out this report from Zoocasa)
  • We are very diverse: over 28% of Calgarians are foreign-born, and nearly 150 languages are spoken here.
  • Calgary gets to enjoy more sunny days than any other major Canadian city (we average 2,300 hours of sun a year)
  • We are at an elevation of 1,048 metres or 3,438 feet above sea level
  • Calgary is a large city as we cover 848 square kilometres (327 sq miles)
  • Calgary is also the first choice for those who’ve immigrated to Canada, settled and then have decided to re-locate after they’ve been in the country for a while.

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Strong Migration to Calgary

Calgary census data tells us that Calgary’s population is still climbing at a rate of around 20,000 people a year. That puts a demand for 10,000 new homes every year to be built. With the recent addition of 14 new and unique communities approved by the council, we take this as another good sign for the Calgary real estate market. That means jobs for builders and developers, more options on the market, and a continued appeal for existing homes in the city. Mainly, we see that Calgary is growing and continuing to meet the housing needs of these new faces to our city.

Calgary’s Real Estate Recovery

If you’ve lived here for more than a minute, you'll understand that these aren’t the best days Calgary has seen. Homes here have seen a drop in values, a welcome sight for buyers, but not the ideal landscape for strong real estate sales. But there has been good news. The recovery of this year has proven to be on track with where we expect, with the market predicted to increase in the future. 

Related Post: 16 Important Hidden Costs of Home Ownership in Calgary

The recovery from a recession is always hard and long. One thing that is real and you will see when you live here is that we are adaptable, and there is a real entrepreneurial spirit in Calgary. This city has seen hard times before, and we survived. With the recent boom and bust cycles of oil and gas, we are hoping that over the coming years, we will see diversification in our city. By being more diverse in the types of industries in Calgary, we will see higher lows and lower highs, but this will take time.

Activities Around Calgary

activites_in_calgaryIf you love outdoor sports or getting to the mountains, there are some incredible places to visit and some that under an hour away. We hear it constantly from those visiting here how lucky we are to have the mountains as close as we do. 

From heading out to Bragg Creek to go mountain biking, dirt biking or quading to heading to the townsite of Banff for a fancy dinner, we have everything at our doorstep. Well, almost everything... If we could figure out how to have oceans for surfing and large warm lakes, we'd have everything. One thing as a Calgarian is you need to embrace the winters. Don't shy away or hide for half the year, but rather strap on a snowboard or step into some skis and get out there. 

 

Real Estate Market in Calgary

Let's take a look at the real estate market around Calgary and what you can expect to find as you drive around the city. We will cover the highlights of the South parts of Calgary as well as the North parts of Calgary. Knowing where you are going to live and that it matches the needs of your life are all very vital when it comes to making the big move.

Calgary Community Guides

Buyer and Seller Guides

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South Calgary Highlights

Of course, this area isn’t just new construction and younger communities. There are also a good number of older communities like Midnapore, Deer Run, and Riverbend. Some of these communities even existed previously as towns on the outskirt of Calgary proper. But as the city expanded, these towns were swallowed up, and new communities were created alongside. We see some of the greatest expansion in the city in this quadrant. New roads, better infrastructure, and a promised C-Train line have only heightened the demand for housing here. The Calgary housing market has put pressure on this area to expand outward to cope with the influx of new residents to the city. And the southeast has grown to fill that need.

South Calgary Amenities

Homes here have a great reputation among the young families, and that’s in part due to the overwhelming number of lake communities here. Several neighbourhoods have private lakes with access provided to residents only. Midnapore, Chaparral, Lake Bonavista, and McKenzie Lake are among the favourites here with private lakes. With year-round activities offered around the lakes, these places are in hot demand. The Bow Rover also provides plenty of opportunities for fishing, boating in the summer, and walking trails for kilometres. 

Currently, the C-Train follows the border between the southwest and southeast of the city. But that is soon to change as the city has promised to put in the money to upgrade the LRT to extend all the way out to the Seton, connecting the communities of Auburn Bay, McKenzie Lake and surrounding neighbourhoods. But until it’s completion in 2026, the residents here rely on major routes like Stoney Trail, Deerfoot Trail and Macleod Trail to reach their destinations, quick, efficient routes to major destinations all around Calgary. Stoney Trail, when completed in 2020, will connect the communities here with the rest of Calgary in an efficient ring road that is long overdue for Calgary. 

Fish Creek Park also runs through the quadrant, providing thousands of Calgarians with access to kilometres of pathways and trails to use. Several other public parks are found throughout the quadrant so that there is always a green pace close by, no matter where you live.   

South Calgary Schools

As younger families continue to move to the south, that puts a greater pressure to provide excellent schooling options for the students here. Several new schools have been built in the past 10-15 years, and they have quickly risen to become some of the leading schools in the province. The Fraser Institute ranks several southeast Calgary schools in the top 50 schools in Alberta, a notable achievement for this area. Besides the public schools there are also great Catholic schools such as Father James Whelihan School, a reputable elementary school with a great reputation among the faith-based community. Beyond that, there are several notable schools in the private sector as well, offering excellence in academic programs, fine arts, athletics, and STEM courses.

North Calgary Highlights

From the northern banks of the Bow River to out past the Stoney Trail Ring Road, Calgary’s northwest is pretty compact compared to the other quadrants. Even residents living on the very outer edges in communities like Sage Hill or Royal Oak can quickly get into the downtown core in 20 minutes. Is it a convenience that people live here? Maybe. It also has one of the largest urban parks in all of North America, so do residents here love the outdoors more? Possibly. Or could it be the access provided by public transit? This is also a good indication of liveability. In any case, here’s what we found unique about homes in the northwest of this city.

North Calgary Amenities

One of the most significant features of not just the northwest but the entire city is Nose Hill Park, a massive hill that covers 11 square kilometres. This municipal park has trails and path crisscrossing the area, allowing for residents to use it for biking, walking dogs, running, cross country skiing, or general exploring of the natural habitat of many different species. Other popular parks in the area include Bowness Park, Shouldice Athletic Park and the massive lengths of trails along the Bow River. 

Another highly attractive feature, one that appeals to many homebuyers of the homes for sale of Calgary’s northwest (NW), is the University of Calgary and SAIT. These two massive tertiary education facilities are almost a city unto themselves, with 45,000 enrolled students between them. These schools are among the largest in Alberta and represent the best education options here. That, of course, means a massive influx of students every year, taking advantage of rental and short-term properties all around the campus. Look to communities like University Heights and Varsity to contain several condos and apartments to suit student life.

The northwest also has the Foothills Medical Centre and the Alberta Children’s Hospital. These two medical facilities are world-renowned and have specialists trained in a variety of fields. For example, heart surgeons travel from all over the world to train with the very best cardiologists right here at Foothills Hospital. It’s comforting to many residents here to know that such high-class hospitals are found within a few minutes of their homes.

Northwest Calgary Schools    

We find many of the young families asking us about schooling here, and that is indeed a high priority. This is good news because the schools here have an excellent reputation among parents and students alike. They also rank highly in the province by the rankings provided by the Fraser Institute. Schools like Bowness High School have an excellent program for athletic performance. King George Elementary provides a French immersion program that is rare for its thorough approach, welcoming students from all over the northwest. William Aberhart High School is among the top 10 schools in the province, a reputation well earned due to its high academic atmosphere and standards.

 

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You are thinking of selling your house in Calgary but don't know where to start. Here is your complete guide that is ever growing with everything you'll need to know.

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