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  • Writer's pictureTony Piattelli

The Piattelli Perspective: Investing in Calgary

I’m often asked, “as an investor, is Calgary a good place to buy properties for investment purposes?”

Over the years I’ve thought about this often. Without hesitation, the answer is yes.

Even though rates have jumped over the past year, Calgary is still in a strong position for investment purposes. There are many reasons for this position.


One of the primary reasons why investing in property in Calgary is a good idea has to do with immigration and migration.

Immigration is when people move into Canada, migration is movement between provinces.

In 2022, Canada’s population increased by 750,000, with Alberta’s population growth leading the way with an increase of over 135,000.

In the last quarter of 2022, Alberta had a net immigration/migration increase of 52,582 with net migration comprising 19,285 and immigration being 33,297. Most of this migration came from British Columbia and Ontario.

Migration has been stimulated by the increased employment opportunities in Alberta from the oil and gas industry, high tech, agriculture, finance, health sciences, and R&D to name a few.

Alberta has managed to remain a relatively affordable place to live relative to other cities/provinces in Canada while sustaining this growth. However, this growth will continue to stoke demand for goods and services which will, eventually, drive up the cost of living in our province.

As the Canadian government plans to increase immigration into Canada to over 500,000 per year by 2025, we will start to see our cost of living increase.

“It’s a big part of what when we talk about as economists of the potential growth, population growth is a big part of that. It creates a higher sustained level of growth in the population.” Charles St-Arnaud, chief economist for Alberta Central. Note that this applies to Canada as a nation as well, not just Alberta.

With this many people moving into the province and a high percentage moving into Calgary, which has a relatively tight real estate and rental market, this will only increase overall demand, causing strain on an already stressed market.

Calgary home prices have been projected to increase between 5% - 10% in 2023, while many other major cities have seen dropping values. The trend of rising home values will continue in Calgary for the next few years.

Average sale prices in Calgary are expected to break the $700,000 for single detached homes and rents have risen more than 20 percent on average.

The Alberta economy itself will continue to stimulate migration to the province from other provinces for various reasons from affordability, job opportunities, outdoor activities, and leisure.

The diversification of Alberta’s economy has built in some economic resistance to market nuances while attracting a diverse and skilled workforce. Immigration numbers are being promoted due to labour shortages with approximately one million job vacancies in Canada, many being in highly skilled areas.

This is also the primary reason that I believe the Bank of Canada will be restricted in its ability to drop rates as Canada is importing increased demand for goods and services via immigration.

Appreciating Values in Calgary

The other reason I’m a supporter of buying investment properties in Calgary has to do with the potential of appreciated value on the asset versus your investment.

Appreciation versus Investment Example

In this example, I’m not taking taxes into consideration and everything is based on simple interest. However, what’s important is the understanding of the concepts.

An investor is buying a rental property for $600,000, ‘The Asset’. This requires a minimum downpayment of 20%—$120,000, ‘The Investment.’







Interest Rate



25 Years

Principal Payment


Interest Payment


Total Payment


Principal Earned - Year 1


% Return on Investment


Principal Earned - Within 5 Years


% Return on Investment


Note: The difference in return from year one to over five years is due to increased principal payments as the mortgage balance drops.

Three Investment Scenarios

5% Drop in Market Value



5% Drop in Value


Principal and Interest


Net Gain


5 Year Return


No Change in Market Value



No Change in Value


Principal and Interest


Net Gain


5 Year Return


5% Increase in Market Value



No Change in Value


Principal and Interest


Net Gain


5 Year Return


Based on the above scenarios, there’s a greater chance for continued positive returns, even if there are positive, or negative, fluctuations in market value.

Also, if the depreciation/loss of value is greater than 5%, then the returns will change as well.

Note: These returns will vary depending on individual tax positions. Being a landlord isn’t for everybody. I would strongly recommend discussing the potential tax benefits or issues you may have with an accountant prior to venturing into becoming a landlord.

Should You Invest in Calgary?

The big question remains; what market scenario is more likely to unfold?

As I presented earlier regarding immigration and migration into Alberta, I’m leaning towards market appreciation with estimates between 5% - 10% for 2023. Hence, the reason I believe investing in Calgary is a strong option.

Now, is investing in real estate worth the potential obstacles that may come with being a landlord or an overall investor? It depends on many factors, predominantly the factors of you as an individual.

As far as just looking at it from a structure of diversification, yes, I do think investing in real estate is worth it. It can stabilize your investment portfolio and it can help manage and offset some of the inflationary costs we’re seeing right now (in the sense that it helps create net worth via the appreciated values).

Should real estate be your only investment source? I'm not a fan of that.

I'm a big fan of diversification, so your portfolio should contain a portion of real estate. And for many people—the average person—it would probably be their biggest investment. So from a risk management perspective, you'd want to manage that.

Now, how do you get started in real estate investing? That’s worth a conversation with your financial team, including someone like myself who can find the right mortgage for your investment property.

If you have any questions about getting started with real estate investing, give me a call (or send an email) and let’s start the conversation.

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