Best Places to Live in Alberta 2023

Alberta’s latest marketing campaign encouraging people from across Canada to move to our province has gathered a lot of attention. With promises of shorter commutes, larger homes, and proximity to nature, there is a lot that this province can offer (no sales tax!).

Alberta is Calling, and depending on what you want to get out of life, it likely has the perfect city for you. Of course, there are many different qualities that you can look for when finding the ideal place to purchase a home, but for this article, we’ll focus on just a few:

  • Affordability – Alberta has affordable homes when compared to places like Toronto or Vancouver. However, there are still some cities where your dollar will travel quite a bit further.
  • Amenities – Some cities will offer everything, including a vibrant nightlife (Calgary/Edmonton). However, other cities are a little quieter yet still offer amazing experiences.
  • Nature – Each major city in Alberta is positioned on a river offering a natural escape from the city, and with the western border comprising the Rockies you’re never too far from the wild.

1. Calgary

Calgary is a big city with a small-town heart; as the largest metropolitan area in Alberta, it has many world-class features while offering a short commute to the mountains. So whether you’re interested in amazing food, an excellent transit system, skiing, snowboarding, or looking for fantastic job opportunities – Calgary has it all.

One drawback is that if you’re planning to live in Calgary, you can expect to pay some of the highest costs (in Alberta) for a home. The median house price for a single detached home has increased 13.3% to $572,000, which is 35.5% higher than the median home price of $422,000 throughout Alberta.

Calgary is bisected by the Bow and Elbow rivers, which offer excellent paths for walking, hiking, or even kayaking. Calgary is the closest you can get to an international-level city while still having nature at your back door.

Calgary Neighbourhood Info, Sold Homes, and Active Listings

2. Edmonton

The second largest city and Alberta’s capital offers a similar level of amenities to Calgary with a slight edge in affordability. Edmonton’s downtown core offers everything you would expect from an international city, while its sprawling neighbourhoods can give you great lot sizes at an affordable price. Famous for its once largest mall in the world, West Edmonton Mall offers year-round entertainment; however, if you can handle the cold, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the amount of cold weather outdoor festivities. In summer, Edmonton is no slouch either, with many concerts, fringe festival, and folk fest.

As far as affordability is concerned, Edmonton offers some of the best bang for your buck that you can find in a city with over a million people. As of November 2022, the median single-family home in Edmonton cost just $454,541. While this number has increased in recent years, it still offers great affordability compared to other markets like Toronto or Vancouver.

Edmonton Neighbourhood Info, Sold Homes, and Active Listings

3. Canmore

When looking at the best places to live in Alberta, it would be remiss not to consider Canmore. Nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, this town has wilderness access covered without needing to give up any of the luxuries that you might be accustomed to.

Due to Canmore’s importance in the 1988 Calgary winter games, it has a world-class nordic ski centre, and they haven’t rested on their laurels either, with the recent addition of Elevation Place offering yet more services. For a small town of only ~15,000 people, you would be hard-pressed to find a city with more going on.

Additionally, with one of the top 10 ranked high schools (Alberta) in Our Lady of the Snows, you don’t need to give up anything to live your life in Canmore.

With all of these great features comes a cost. Canmore is one of the most expensive places in home metrics and cost of living.

With a median home price of $821,114 in 2022, Canmore is the most expensive city to purchase a home in Alberta.

Canmore Neighbourhood Info, Sold Homes, and Active Listings

4. Cochrane

If Calgary is too ‘big city’ for you, you can take a few steps closer to the Rocky Mountains and move to Cochrane. This lovely town of 35,000 is located just 18 km outside of Calgary, allowing for a reasonable commute, but its location in the foothills gets you much closer to nature. Although its median home price of ~$550,000 seems quite daunting, there are still quite a few affordable homes that can be found in Cochrane.

5. Medicine Hat

Located in Alberta’s southeast, Medicine Hat offers some of the balmiest weather that Alberta has to offer while also being one of the most affordable locations in terms of cost of living. Medicine Hat has the lowest cost of living of all cities in Alberta, pairing this with one of Alberta’s lowest median home prices of $289,900 can make Medicine Hat a very attractive place to live.

Medicine Hat is known for being ‘the sunniest city in Canada’ with its hot summers and low rainfall; if you’re worried about Alberta’s cold…then Medicine Hat is the place for you.

Medicine Hat Neighbourhood Info, Sold Homes, and Active Listings

6. Okotoks

Located just 30 minutes south of Calgary, this city is still close enough to the big city to enjoy everything Calgary has to offer. However, what makes Okotoks shine is its proximity to many outdoor spaces. With an average age of just 32.4 years old, Okotoks has a great sense of community and is a wonderful place to raise a family.

7. Sherwood Park

A fantastic place to raise a family, Sherwood Park also has the added benefit of some of the lowest property taxes in Canada. With a tax rate of just 0.75% compared to Edmonton’s 0.94% (2023), you could save thousands of dollars per year on a larger home in a great community. The reason for this is Sherwood Park’s proximity to industry which allows for some off-loading of the municipal tax burden. Since Sherwood Park has such a healthy budget as a small town, they can offer a lot in terms of community, sporting activities, and schools.

With a population of around 100,000, Sherwood Park offers 2 High Schools in the top 20% of all Alberta schools. It also offers amazing sports facilities for hockey, basketball, and soccer.

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