Location, location, price.

Some quick math says 80% can’t afford to live near downtown.

Everyday Tourist blogger Richard White examined a Maclean’s article that looked at how Canadians save huge dollars by buying a home further from downtown. Oddly, in Calgary only, that only held true until you drive about 20 minutes from the core. At that point, house prices stabilize and don’t drop again until you are nearly an hour away.

That got White thinking about what it takes to live in our established neighbourhoods in that 20 – 40 minute commute range, where houses average around $500,000. Using Calgary’s average family income of $100,000 as a basis for some math, White figures only about 20% of Calgarians can afford to live in established neighbourhoods. That leaves 80% of us looking for houses in the suburbs.

So what’s the big deal? Does that mean that we are all doomed to sitting in our cars for hours a day? Not exactly. The blog post, “80% of Calgarians Must Live in the ‘Burbs’”, goes on to ask some interesting questions about this and other studies that focus on downtown commuters. We are not all heading downtown, so the suburbs just may be closer to our work than one would imagine. Some points to consider:

  • Only 25% of commuters are heading downtown
  • 77% of job growth from 2006-2011 was in our industrial areas
  • There are more jobs in manufacturing and transportation (with workplaces located mostly east of Deerfoot) than in the oil and gas sector (downtown)
  • 67% of Calgary households have children, so the suburbs are attractive for more than financial reasons

White concludes that instead of encouraging Calgarians to live in multi-family housing close to downtown, we should focus on the live/work/play opportunities in the northeast and southeast quadrants.

The development and building industry are planning complete communities all around the Calgary Region where residents can afford to live, work, play, and stay off the roads leading to the city core.

Read the full blog post, “80% of Calgarians Must Live in the ‘Burbs’”.

January 15th, 2015
Updated: September 14th, 2017

House hunting is about more than living near downtown for most Calgarians.