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Pros & Cons of Living in Alberta

If you’re thinking of making a move to the province of Alberta in Canada, you’ve come to the right place! In this post, we’re going to go through my top pro’s and con’s about living here in Alberta!


Pro #1: Housing Affordability

People love living here in Alberta for the quality of life and cost saving benefits, and housing is no exception. Many Canadians are moving out of the other major cities, such as Vancouver and Toronto, as cost of living can be extremely expensive. For this reason, affordability is the driving factor behind most people’s decision to move to Alberta.

Currently, Canada overall has an average benchmark price of $716,083, and Alberta actually falls $250,000 lower than that at $462,086. To give you an idea of how much cheaper it is to live here versus other provinces, we can compare it to British Columbia’s benchmark price of $992,861 or to the $911,078 we see in Ontario.

These 2 provinces in specific are where a large number of our out of province buyers are coming from, and a big reason why is due to the affordability of our homes here. As for the other provinces, the Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Quebec are a bit higher being just under $500,000, while Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and the rest of the maritime provinces are a fair bit cheaper for housing.

Because of the lower cost to buy a home, a lot more young people and families are able to get into the real estate market and actually own property sooner than they would in other provinces. We even have quite a few people opting to continue living and renting a home in their home provinces, but buying investment properties here, just so they’re able to get into the housing market somewhere.

The cost of renting is also approximately 40% less expensive than British Columbia and Ontario. So in terms of housing, all around you’re going to be able to get more for your money here. This could mean more backyard space or garage space, more square footage, or just a nicer home in general. Your budget might even include a new build when you thought you would never live in a new construction.

Pro #2: Proximity to the Rocky Mountains

Another reason people are so happy here is you’re able to have a great work life balance, with plenty of time to head out to the Rocky Mountains. That work/life balance comes in part to pro #1 as your spending less of your income on housing, so you have more time for fun!

In Calgary, it can take as little as 40 minutes to find yourself immersed in the great outdoors and have tons of opportunities for recreation, no matter the season. You can go camping for the weekend, spend the day fishing at a lake, or enjoy a scenic hike and picnic. Until you’ve seen it in person there’s just no way I can explain how incredible the Rocky Mountains are, and even thinking about it now it’s pretty mind blowing how close we get to be to them.

Tourist hot spots like Banff and Canmore are also just a short distance away, so there’s no shortage of things to do or places to checkout in the area. It always shocks people, the fact that in many of the cities and towns in Alberta, specifically southern Alberta, you’ll be able to catch views of the mountains or have them just outside your windows.

Pro #3: Sunshine

In addition to all the beautiful nature and mountains, Calgary is the sunniest place in all of Canada and experiences 333 days a year of bright sunshine, with Edmonton not far behind. It really does make a difference, as winters aren’t as dark and dreary and the snow doesn’t stick around for too long at a time, especially when you factor in the chinooks we get in the southern part of the province that melts the snow away periodically throughout the winter as well.

The summers are also fantastic with long days and lovely weather. The amount of light also give you the access to lots of activities throughout the entire year, and it makes winter sports that much more enjoyable.

If you are a buyer and looking to get your home search underway, I would love to help! Click the button below to go fill out my buyer consultation request form!

Pro #4: Lower Taxes

For personal taxes here in Alberta, at a household income of $50,000 or les, you’ll be paying a bit more than you would be in some other provinces, But if your income is over $50,000, then you’ll be paying less taxes here.

Our provincial tax brackets:

10%: Up to $142,292

12%: $142,292 to $170,751

13%: $170,751 to $227,668

14%: $227,668 to $341,502

15%: $341,502 and up

As for sales taxes, Alberta only has a 5% goods and services tax on purchases. In comparison to other provinces with a HST or PST, the savings will add up in the long run on every purchase you’re making here in Alberta, compared to other provinces.

If you are buying a home here in Alberta, then you’ll be very happy to know that we don't have a land transfer tax here! This can be a substantial expense when buying property in other provinces, but here in Alberta you don’t have to worry about that!

Con #1: Cold & Long Winters

Here in Alberta, our winter season is pretty cold and long. This can definitely be a drawback for people considering a move depending on where you’re moving from. Now, the plows do a good job, but you will need to be prepared to drive in icy conditions and on snowy roads many times from November to April, so winter tires are a must. It also gets into the -20 to -30 degree celsius range and beyond, so bundling up will definitely become a standard.

It is a different kind of snow though, compared to BC’s wet winters, Alberta’s can be an improvement, as it’s more of a dry snow, and in the southern part of the province it doesn’t stick around too long because of all the sunshine and chinooks we experience here.

It’ll dump and then melt away and be almost completely gone every couple weeks or so, which adds a nice break during the season. I’ve spoken to multiple clients of mine that have moved from out of province in regards to winter, and the response that I’ve gotten is that it’s not as bad as they thought.

Con #2: Lack of Open Water

This one is going to be more for people who are moving specifically from BC or Ontario. Many people who make the Move here wish there was more lakes and open water close to the cities. Compared to British Columbia or Ontario, you won’t come across as many lakes to go swimming or boating at. We do have rivers running through cities/towns, which are good for a tube float or playing in in the summer, but you have to go further out for the ski lakes and bigger bodies of water. Most of those will be a couple hours or more outside of the cities.

If you’re used to be able to the head over to a lake for swimming after work, or want to be close to water, this may be something to consider. Although we do have man made lakes in communities that residents do enjoy. You also have to consider that all of our water runs from the Rocky Mountains, so the water is quite cold for swimming! Colder than you may be used to.

Con #3: Nightlife

This one could be a dealbreaker for some, and for others may not even be on their radar as a factor, but one thing that’s mentioned often by out of province buyers, is that the nightlife in Alberta cities is nowhere near the level of the other major cities in Canada.

There are areas in Calgary and Edmonton that you can go out and there are events that go on throughout the year downtown, but there aren’t a ton of options for clubs and things like that. From what I’ve heard, the variety you’ll get in places like Vancouver or Toronto provides some of the best nightlife and more people get involved in it as well. Here, we have a ton of amazing restaurants and bars, but as far as it being more of a party scene, I would agree that you’re not going to find that here.

Con #4: Higher Taxes

For those whose income is under $50,000, your provincial personal income taxes will be slightly higher here. For income taxes in Alberta, residents who make under $50,000 a year are actually going to pay more in taxes than most other provinces in Canada. This is something to think about as if you’re in that category than you will pay a little more here.

Though if you factor in housing cost, lower sales tax, and lower cost of living in other aspects, I would expect that afte you do the calculations, even if you’re taxed a couple extra percent, you’re overall cost of living will still be significantly less!


Check out my YouTube video below where I go over everything in this blog post and subscribe to my channel if you want to see more Airdrie related content!

- Brad Walker


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