Challenged by higher interest rates and rising property prices, more buyer hopefuls have set their sights on Alberta over the past few years, new data shows. Online searches for homes on royallepage.ca in Alberta’s capital city, Edmonton, and the province’s largest city, Calgary, have increased since the beginning of 2019 – the likely result of out-of-province homebuyers extending their search to more affordable markets out west.
The proportion of searches on royallepage.ca for properties in the city of Edmonton have quadrupled since pre-pandemic times. Between January 1st and June 30th, 2023, unique searches for homes in Edmonton on royallepage.ca accounted for 2.0% of total site searches, a significant increase compared to the 0.5% of total searches recorded during the same period in 2019.1
Similarly, unique searches for homes in the city of Calgary made up 1.9% of total royallepage.ca searches between January 1st and June 30th, 2023, more than double the searches reported during the same period in 2019, when Calgary accounted for 0.8% of total site searches.
“Canadians are grappling with expensive home prices in a high-cost borrowing environment. These challenges are tempting homebuyers to migrate to communities where housing is more affordable. It’s no surprise that more consumers, now empowered with the flexibility of the option to work remotely or who are willing to move for great employment opportunities, are considering relocating to Alberta,” Tom Shearer, broker and owner, Royal LePage Noralta Real Estate in Edmonton. “Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Edmonton has been a popular destination for out-of-province buyers looking for a change. This demand has stayed consistent over the last year and a half, as qualifying for a home in high-priced provinces like Ontario and British Columbia has become even more challenging as a result of rising interest rates.”
Interest in Alberta’s major cities has gained momentum since the start of the pandemic. In the first six months of 2023, Edmonton was the top-searched city on royallepage.ca, followed by Calgary. Last year, Calgary was the most searched city on Royal LePage’s website, with Edmonton ranking second. Both cities were among the top 10 most searched locations on royallepage.ca in 2021, and among the top 20 in 2020. Typically, densely-populated cities in southern Ontario have held the top spots.
Canadians searching for affordability
Interprovincial migration to Alberta has increased in recent years, according to Statistics Canada.2 For the first time since 2014-2015, Alberta recorded positive net interprovincial migration in 2021-2022, welcoming more than 21,000 net new residents (85,625 in-migrants versus 63,965 out-migrants).3
Statistics Canada reports that a large number of recent Alberta migration originates from Ontario, likely as a result of rising home prices and the increasing ability to work remotely post-pandemic. Since the start of 2019, there have been only three quarters where Ontario has reported a higher number of people migrating into the province versus those moving out. Meanwhile, the province of Alberta has recorded 11 quarters where in-migration levels outpaced out-migration.4
“Thanks in part to the flexibility of remote work, which became more common with the onset of the pandemic, Calgary’s appeal among young homebuyers has been revived,” said Corinne Lyall, broker and owner, Royal LePage Benchmark in Calgary. “This affordable yet amenity-rich city is perfect for young people looking for good job opportunities and a place to put down roots and raise a family. Calgary offers the best of both worlds – a fast-paced urban environment with restaurants, nightlife and job opportunities just a short distance from beautiful mountains and outdoor recreation. Calgary’s lifestyle and real estate offerings will continue to draw buyers from across the country for years to come, keeping the local market competitive in the absence of a large influx of home supply.”
According to Royal LePage’s latest quarterly Canadian Home Price Update, the aggregate price of a home in Edmonton was $434,400 in Q2 of 2023, while the aggregate price of a home in Calgary was $643,200. Nationally, the aggregate price of a home was $809,200 last quarter.
-Credits to Royal LePage, Canada