Alberta

The Cheapest Places to Live in Alberta

Alberta is the westernmost province of Canada’s three Prairie provinces and is one of the cheapest places to live in Canada. Two of its cities, Edmonton and Calgary, rank in the top 5 cheapest big cities to live in Canada. On average, they both boast of house resale values of less than $500,000 compared to cities like Toronto and Vancouver with average prices of $1.24 million. Even more appealing is that the average home income in Alberta is higher than that of Toronto and Vancouver. Edmonton and Calgary have a median income of about $143,000, while Toronto and Vancouver have median incomes just under $124,000. Do you want to know more? Well, below are some of the cheapest places to live in Alberta.

Cheapest Places to Live in Alberta

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Why Do People Move to Alberta?

 People move to Alberta for several reasons. They include: 

  • Lower cost of living
  • Affordable real estate
  • Faster commute time
  • Less traffic
  • Stunning views
  • Outdoor recreational activities
  • Job opportunities
  • Outdoor recreational activities

The Top 10 Cheapest Places to Live in Alberta

1. Lloydminster

Lloydminster is a special city in Canada that is straddled at the border between Alberta and Saskatchewan. Both provinces each incorporate Lloydminster as a single city with a single municipal administration. This, however, does not negatively affect the cost of housing in the city. Lloydminster, like the rest, is still a great city to find affordable housing in Alberta. With $342,000, you can buy a house in Lloydminster. And with $915 and $1,050, you can rent a 1-bedroom and a 2-bedroom apartment, respectively.

2. Medicine Hat

Medicine Hat is in southern Alberta, along the South Saskatchewan River. The city is about 169 km east of Lethbridge and 295 km southeast of Calgary. Popularly known for its large natural gas fields, it is nicknamed ‘The Gas City.’ Medicine Hat offers one of the most affordable housing in Alberta, with the median cost of houses being $346,000. In Medicine Hat, you can get a 2-bedroom detached house for C$248,000. It’ll also cost you as low as $937 to rent a 1-bedroom apartment.

3. Grande Prairie

Grande Prairie is a city in northwestern Alberta. The city of Grande Prairie was the seventh largest in Alberta in 2016, with a population of 63,166, and between 2001 and 2006, it was one of Canada’s fastest-growing cities. $399,000 will get you a house in Grande Prairie, and with $856, you can get a 1-bedroom apartment in Grand Prairie, which is a great deal.

4. High River

High River is a town situated within the Calgary Metro region of Alberta. The city is named after the Highwood River, which flows through it. High River holds an impressive heritage, and part of its tourist attractions are the murals that tell the history of the early settlers around the Highwood River. Some of the earliest murals were created in the 1990s. Getting some of the cheapest places to live in Alberta is possible in High River, with the average cost of buying a house being $419000 and the cost to rent a 1-bedroom apartment being around $1400.

5. Cold Lake

Cold Lake is a beautiful city located in northeastern Alberta, and it takes its name from the nearby Cold Lake. It is home to the Canadian Forces Base (CFB Cold Lake) and several museums such as The Airforce Museum, Aboriginal Museum, Oil and Gas Museum, and Heritage Museum. Like most parts of Alberta, living in Cold Lake offers a cheaper standard of living than other provinces in Canada. The average cost of buying a house in Cold Lake is $420,000. It also costs about $1200 to rent an apartment in Cold Lake, with a 1-bedroom apartment going for as low as $899.

6. Stony Plain

Stony Plain is a town in the west of Edmonton city, Alberta. Stony Plain is home to several historically important murals of people and events that tell the town’s story. The town considers farming an integral part of its existence, with its residents celebrating Farmers’ Days in the first week of June each year. On average, it’ll cost $431,000 to buy a house, and with $1,300, you can get a 1-bedroom apartment in Stony Plain.

*(Zolo.ca, Rentcafe.com, Rentboard.ca, nuroa.ca, point2homes.com, skyhub.ca)

Lethbridge

7. Lethbridge

With 101,482 residents in its 2019 municipal census, Lethbridge became the fourth city to surpass 100,000 residents in Alberta, Canada. Lethbridge is in the southeast of Alberta and experiences very mild winters due to its proximity to the Canadian Rocky Mountains, which also causes warmer summers. The average cost of buying a house here is $454,000, while the average rent for a studio apartment is $990

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8. Red Deer

Red Deer city is in central Alberta. It is located near the midpoint of the Calgary-Edmonton corridor. In 2016, it became the third Alberta city to surpass 100,000 residents. Like many other cities and towns in Alberta, it gets its name from a neighboring water body. Red Deer city is named after the Red Deer River. Red Deer is also a good place to find affordable housing in Alberta. The average home price is $435,000, and you can rent an apartment under $1,200.

9. Camrose

Camrose is a city located in central Alberta, Canada, surrounded by Camrose County. Camrose is sometimes known as the “Rose City” because of the abundance of wild roses in the city. In 1995, the Camrose Rose was introduced to the city by local rose grower Jerry Twomey, who designed it to thrive in the climate of Alberta. A display of the variety can be found at the Bill Fowler Center. Buying a house in Camrose will cost you an average of $443,000 and renting a 2-bedroom apartment is about $1,400.

10. Sylvan Lake

Sylvan Lake town is in central Alberta, in the west of Red Deer city. It gets its name from the freshwater Sylvan Lake. Sylvan Lake is one of the largest towns by population in Alberta, with over 12,000 residents. And according to the Alberta Municipal Government Act, a city is any region with over 10,000 residents. On average, with $499,000, you can buy a house in Sylvan Lake, and with $1300, you can rent an apartment.

Affordable Housing Options in Alberta

Certainly, Alberta offers one of the cheapest real estate markets in Canada. However, some people may still find it expensive or are looking for means to cut down on rent. If you fit into either category, there are amazing options available to satisfy your needs. Here are some other ways to still get affordable housing in Alberta.

1. Coop Housing in Calgary

Coop housing is a global association that offers flexible housing for its members. Coop housing is guided by international co‑operative principles, adapted for housing co‑ops. In Canada, the government established Coop housing between the 1970s and 80s to make housing options available for low to moderate-income earners.

There are quite a few coop housing options in Calgary. They include:

  • Southern Alberta Co-operative Housing Association
  • Sarcee Meadows Housing Co-operative Ltd
  • Deerfoot Estates Housing Co-Operative Limited
  • Ramsay Heights Co-operative Housing Ltd
  • Whippletree West Housing Co-op
  • West Scenic Acres Housing Co-op Ltd
  • West Heritage Manor Housing Co-op Ltd

To read more on coop housing in Calgary, visit the Southern Alberta Housing Association and Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada.

2. Tiny Houses in Alberta

Typical “tiny houses” are less than a sixth the size of an average house and range in size from 100 to 400 square feet.  The tiny house movement began in the U.S. in the 1990s and has since gained popularity worldwide among people seeking simplified, cheaper lifestyles with a smaller carbon footprint. Tiny houses vary in price depending on materials, size, and other factors.

Tiny house communities in Alberta
The tiny home community is a budding one, and there’s just one in Alberta. It’s called the Homes for Heroes Foundation, and it aims to provide cheap housing for veterans. Rent in this community is $749.88. For now, the Homes for Heroes Foundation can be found in Calgary and Edmonton.

3. Getting Roommates in Alberta

Often, if you’re a student or a young professional living in a big city, you will share your apartment with another person. The primary benefit of getting roommates in Alberta is the reduction of rent. When getting a roommate, whether a friend or a stranger, ask for a roommate rental agreement. A rent agreement is simply a legal contract that specifies how the rent and bills will be paid, as well as a few rules and boundaries. It prevents future misunderstandings.

4. First-Time Home Buyer Incentive in Alberta

The First-Time Home Buyer Incentive is a government initiative to reduce the financial burden of getting a home for first-time homebuyers by supporting them with some financial aid. The Government of Alberta runs the Public Essential and Key (PEAK) Program to help low-income earners with a down payment on their first home.

The PEAK program offers.

  • up to 5% of their home price as a second mortgage down payment.
  • interest-free second mortgage for up to 5 years

To qualify for the PEAK program, you must earn less than $99,000 or $112,000 (if you have children living with you).

How Much Mortgage Can I Afford in Alberta?

Simply put, mortgages are types of loans you can use to purchase or refinance a home. Ideally, the higher the mortgage rate you can afford, the more you get to spend on a home.

Getting a mortgage is highly recommended because homes don’t exactly come cheap, even in a place like Alberta. Before taking out a mortgage, you need to determine how much mortgage you can afford using a Mortgage Calculator Tool that uses your income, debts, and down payment to determine how much your mortgage should be. Experts recommend that your mortgage payments should not be more than 20% of your income. 

Household Income 

before taxes, no debts 

Down Payment

Maximum Mortgage You Can Afford in Alberta

$100,000

$20,00

$395,200

$150,000

$30,000

$540,800

$300,000

$60,000

$821,600

 

Conclusion

Now that you’ve seen some of the cheapest places to live in Alberta, as well as other alternatives to get affordable housing in Alberta, you can make a better decision about moving down to Alberta and what type of home suits your lifestyle.

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