Affordability the Top Factor for Most Buyers in Western Canada

Unlike other regions across Canada, the priorities for prospective buyers in Edmonton, Alberta, vary. With the majority of the workforce in Edmonton skewing towards blue collar, buyers are looking for neighbourhoods that are easily drivable, ensuring that they have easy access to all corners of the region regardless of where their current worksite may be.

“Take for example construction workers, many of them will at times work on a project in one area for a longer period, then transfer to another area after that. It’s important that drivability to and from work is easy and manageable.” says John Carter, from RE/MAX Rivercity.

Buyers today are also looking for an interconnected neighbourhood that allows individuals to be near preferred schools and academic institutions, that have access to green spaces as well as dog parks, recreational outdoor activities like hiking, nature trails and water sports, and proximity to workplaces. With that in mind, Edmonton has already been developing neighbourhoods aligning with the 15-minute neighbourhood concept, as many of their suburban and infill and established mature communities feature these amenities.

“The priorities among buyers have shifted dramatically, and it is something that will continue to evolve. The “pandemic wants” is something we’ve witnessed more frequently, with families, couples and individuals.” adds John Carter from RE/MAX River City “The need for more useable and outdoor space, has been dictating purchasing habits in Edmonton, and while infill is still popular, due to the appeal of new homes in established mature, and amenity rich neighbourhoods, the price point of those homes has been a limit. Which is why many turn to suburban locations.”

Infrastructure within Edmonton, Alberta has also seen a shift. Zoning changes have been the biggest influence and have allowed for more densification within secondary legal suites, garage/garden suites and more. The city has been consistent with constant iterations based on builders and industry feedback. There is a current zoning bylaw renewal project set to be finalized in 2024, that may allow for even more expanded options for densification.

When compared to other major cities in Canada, Edmonton is considered to be one of the best cities when speaking to quality of life, and overall lifestyle. Due to higher average incomes, job growth and opportunities as well as housing affordability, Edmonton has been experiencing a massive migration both internationally and nationally.

The top 3 priorities for homebuyers when selecting a residential neighbourhood:

  1. Easily drivable – with most of the workforce in Edmonton being blue collar, or with many suburban office locations, drivability to and from a neighbourhood is at the top of the priority list. The downtown workforce is much less than in other similar metro markets, although the expanding tech sector is increasing.
  2. Proximity to preferred schools – prospective buyers in Edmonton are looking for top-performing schools and education, when looking at neighbourhoods they’re potentially interested in settling in, as every address in the region has a designated school assigned to them.
  3. Access to green spaces and/or dog parks – homes located within close distance to green spaces are becoming increasingly popular, as more individuals seek active and outdoor lifestyles following the pandemic.

Factors/amenities currently missing that would improve residents’ quality of life:

  1. Easily walkable – while the general downtown core may be walkable, the moment families, couples and individuals settle in suburban neighbourhoods, they’re automatically car-dependent to get to and from general amenities. The demand for infill in mature neighbourhoods is driven by walkability and has increased the values of homes in those areas with it.
  2. Living near/on the water – Summerside is a recreational lake community on the southeast side of the city and has been one of the hottest demand markets in the last few years. In addition, Jensen Lakes in St. Albert is developing a similar recreational lake community, in addition to the fact that most new developments will have water features integrated and sell those lots and homes backing them for a premium. The river valley in Edmonton also draws the highest demand, whether it’s infill in mature areas or new luxury developments in the Jaguar Ridge and Windermere areas of the southwest.

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