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Question for Albertans and Calgarians

Skryker
March 23rd, 2006, 03:34 PM
We are looking into the possibility of transferring to Calgary in the near future and I'm looking for opinions:
-on what neighbourhoods to avoid and which ones are good?
-whether or not this job boom we've been hearing about is real or hype?
-housing prices in general? Own or rent-our plans are a bit foggy right now.

Thanks!

AliSam
March 23rd, 2006, 04:25 PM
Isn't that funny that this was posted. There is a chance, albeit a slim chance, that I might be transferring there too.

Rick C
March 23rd, 2006, 05:18 PM
We live 20 minutes southwest of Calgary . . . . I have an office in the city.

The official city of Calgary site:

http://www.calgary.ca/portal/server.pt?

The Globe & Mail today has a pretty good examination of the Alberta economy, job status, etc if you want to pick up a copy.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20060323.wxalbertamain23/BNStory/National/home

Unemployment is at an unprecedented 3.1% - most economists describe "full" employment as being a jobless rate of around 5%. That means there is a huge demand for skilled workers in all kinds of trades. People live in Calgary and fly to Fort McMurray for the week to work on the oilsands as an example.

The husband of my assistant, normally in oilpatch sales, is fully occupied right now with the overwhelming demand to renovate older apartments . . . . but he can't find skilled help. Construction materials are short and labour prices are rocketing. Women are working construction trades because there aren't enough men.

On the flip side, I volunteered serving breakfast at the Calgary Drop In Centre last Monday morning . . . . . hundreds were lined up. The working poor who can't afford housing, unemployable people, those choosing to be homeless, etc.

In terms of housing, I always think its better to buy, frankly, even in a flat economy. I'd rather pay myself than someone else and most likely the upward trend in prices will continue. House prices in Calgary, however, jumped 26% in the last 12 months . . . . but still cheaper than Toronto and Vancouver I believe.

What part of the city do you think you would be working? That might make a difference as to where you would be locating.

(Calgary's traffic gridlock has been loosening up a bit lately with massive overhauls of major thoroughfares like Deerfoot Trail which is now completely free of lights.)

The housing market is now reflecting Calgary prices in outlying communities, even down to Nanton, about an 55 minutes south of the city limits or Olds about 45 minutes north.

Communities like Strathmore (45 minutes east), Airdrie (15 minutes north), Okotoks (15 minutes south), High River (35 minutes south), Black Diamond and Turner Valley (35 minutes southwest) are also having construction booms.

From any part of the edge of the city, you're probably about 20 minutes from the downtown core so add that on to any of the above. I'm not too familiar with neighbourhoods in the city. We lived in Wildwood, an older neighbourhood only a few minutes from the core, for 10 years before moving to the country.

Okotoks is a fine community with the youngest demographic in the province. We live 10 minutes west of Okotoks.

Lots of people like the smaller town atmosphere with access to the city job market. There are early morning commuter buses into the city core from most of the small towns.

Calgary Herald:

http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/index.html

Calgary SUN
www.calgarysun.com

A booming economy for sure.

Rick C
www.goldentales.ca

Melei'sMom
March 23rd, 2006, 06:45 PM
Albertans and Calgarians?

Lol can be one in the same hun. but there is much more to Alberta than just Calgary...I live outside of Edmonton, and yes the job boom is very real. My hubby is a truckdriver and he has more work than 2 trucks could handle. What kind of job are you looking for? Fort McMurray is the hottest job market right now, but the housing up there is rare and very expensive. If you live in Calgary and commute the Frt Mac, plane is the best way, but here it is a fairly pleasent 5 hour commute :)

Skryker
March 23rd, 2006, 10:00 PM
Thanks, Rick for the wealth of info! It really helps. I believe that the Calgary location of my husband's company is sort of northeast of downtown. I don't have the address right in front of me. 33rd street northeast? So, we would be jumping with a job in place, anyways. We own this house we're in now but there is a big difference in housing prices, we don't know when things might happen and think we may have to rent in Calgary until this house sells.:confused: So that's why our housing plans are foggy just now. Actually we're in info gathering mode for now before we make a final decision.

:sorry: , Melei'sMom! I didn't mean to imply that all there was to Alberta was Calgary! Thanks for letting me know the job boom is not restricted to Calgary, though. Actually, I was kinda hoping for Edmonton, but there's no branch there for hubby to go to.

Gazoo
March 23rd, 2006, 10:17 PM
Calgary is booooomin!!!! Lotsa jobs but finding housing is crazy.

There are fewer than 2000 housing listings in a city of a million people!!!

BTW Let me know if you need a mortgage when you get here ;)

Skryker
March 24th, 2006, 09:49 AM
Calgary is booooomin!!!! Lotsa jobs but finding housing is crazy.

There are fewer than 2000 housing listings in a city of a million people!!!

BTW Let me know if you need a mortgage when you get here ;)


I figured that if there was a boom, that housing would be tight. And we definitely need a yard for the dogs, or at least a dog-friendly park nearby. Thanks for the mortgage offer-I'll be in touch!:D

Rick C
March 24th, 2006, 10:02 AM
Thanks, Rick for the wealth of info! It really helps. I believe that the Calgary location of my husband's company is sort of northeast of downtown. I don't have the address right in front of me. 33rd street northeast? So, we would be jumping with a job in place, anyways. We own this house we're in now but there is a big difference in housing prices, we don't know when things might happen and think we may have to rent in Calgary until this house sells.:confused: So that's why our housing plans are foggy just now. Actually we're in info gathering mode for now before we make a final decision.

:sorry: , Melei'sMom! I didn't mean to imply that all there was to Alberta was Calgary! Thanks for letting me know the job boom is not restricted to Calgary, though. Actually, I was kinda hoping for Edmonton, but there's no branch there for hubby to go to.

Edmonton = a five hour drive from the mountains but lots of lakes and good cabin country, something Ontarians would be familiar with. Edmonton has a beautiful river valley. Crappy hockey team.

Calgary = under an hour to the mountains, skiing, fabulous other things like hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, etc. Away from the mountains, around Calgary, a drier landscape, grassland prairie, with few lakes in the vicinity. I like the lack of trees outside the city frankly. Some residential neighbourhoods have their own private man made lakes for recreation. If I'm not mistaken, Calgary has the largest urban park system of any municipality in North America. Good hockey team.

Sounds like your hubby's job would be near Deerfoot Trail, the six lane north/south route through the city . . . . if that's true, it opens up much of the city - but not all - for a fairly easy commute.

Rick C
www.goldentales.ca

Gazoo
March 24th, 2006, 10:12 AM
I figured that if there was a boom, that housing would be tight. And we definitely need a yard for the dogs, or at least a dog-friendly park nearby. Thanks for the mortgage offer-I'll be in touch!:D


Great :thumbs up

Really though, as much as the media screams housing crisis, there is still housing out there. The new housing market is slowly catching up and as the weather warms up new home construction will increase even more. This will take some pressure off the resale market.

Other options, are
1. buying in a bedroom community (there are a few beautiful ones here) and commuting or

2. renting until you can buy or build what you want.

Please email me with any questions or concern rather than taking up the bandwidth in this thread.

I have a network of contacts to make your move and home purchase easier as well, such as realtors, moving companies, reno companies, insurance, home inspectors, lawyers, etc etc etc

Rick C
March 28th, 2006, 10:20 AM
FYI . . . . Stats Can releases population shifts in Canada, gravitating west to Alberta and BC. You are not alone. You will be assimilated into the Collective.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20060328.walbert0328/BNStory/National/home

Rick C
www.goldentales.ca

Skryker
March 28th, 2006, 12:05 PM
FYI . . . . Stats Can releases population shifts in Canada, gravitating west to Alberta and BC. You are not alone. You will be assimilated into the Collective.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20060328.walbert0328/BNStory/National/home

Rick C
www.goldentales.ca


:D ! Well, if resistance is futile, might as well enjoy the assimilation! It seems that about half of my husband's team at work is considering the switch. We'll see when decision time comes if they are serious or not.

My Mom comes from a small town in NB-over the last few years most of the 18-30 set has gone out to Calgary for work. 3/4 have come back-they just couldn't stay "away from home". My cousin, for instance, lasted a whole month-just long enough to earn the money for a plane ticket home. Sad when the young aren't adventurous. :rolleyes:

Rick C
March 28th, 2006, 12:45 PM
My Mom comes from a small town in NB-over the last few years most of the 18-30 set has gone out to Calgary for work. 3/4 have come back-they just couldn't stay "away from home". My cousin, for instance, lasted a whole month-just long enough to earn the money for a plane ticket home. Sad when the young aren't adventurous. :rolleyes:

That's the most common thing I think we hear about the Maritimers who come this way . . . . . the pull of home calling them back. It's genuine. It tugs at them. Mostly the family aspect but also the land.

The other thing we've noticed is they really like to fight in bars for no apparent reason.

I should talk. I lived in BC, the beautiful Okanagan, for a little less than a year. Beautiful place to visit but I couldn't stand living there. The hills were closing in. Aside from that brief experiment, I've lived in Alberta all my life. It has nothing to do with family.

Rick C
www.goldentales.ca

Skryker
March 28th, 2006, 01:32 PM
Oh, it's definitely the land. It's got to be a big shock, to go from hills and trees and water, water everywhere to the prairies. I love the Maritimes, myself, and the landscape really tugs at my heart in a way I can't describe. But, that said, I'm more of a "Wherever I hang my hat, that's my home" person. Or more specifically, wherever the husband, kid and animals are, that's home.

But I do think I will miss my trees. :sad: And I really hope I don't get weirded out by all the open spaces. Luckily, the mountains aren't so far away.

Rick C
March 29th, 2006, 10:00 AM
Coincidentally, lots of stories on this topic today:

http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/story.html?id=4b62ff89-061b-45f6-92cd-ccef8fb36fe2&k=11397

http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=341620e4-d769-4d4a-9014-a18d698da6e0&k=5779

Also, McLean's Magazine this week with a cover story on Calgary at the link below . . . . . the last time I saw something this frenetic was a National Geographic expose of booming Dallas, I think, in the late 1990's . . . . just before oil prices plunged:

Swingin' Calgary:

http://www.macleans.ca/topstories/canada/article.jsp?content=20060327_123886_123886

Their editorial:

http://www.macleans.ca/switchboard/editorsletter/article.jsp?content=20060327_123840_123840

Rick C
www.goldentales.ca