Home ownership today is more complex than ever with rising interest rates and prices. Land and construction costs have also risen in the last few years resulting in developers facing greater risk and less profit. In February, the provincial government raised the foreign-buyers tax from 15 to 20 percent and a 0.5 percent speculation tax on homes that are left vacant in certain regions.

Buyers who are in the market to buy typically look for homes that retain or increase in value, optimal pricing when it comes to purchasing, a home in their desired neighbourhood and features/amenities that pair well with their growing needs. While Vancouver remains a challenging market for home buyers right now, Calgary is seeing an upturn in terms of livability and affordability. Reporter for the Calgary Herald, Richard White, recently outlined a comparison between Vancouver and Calgary’s popular neighbourhoods highlighting Calgary’s city centre as a “hidden gem” for millennials with entertainment, culture, resturants, parks and shops challenging Vancouver’s neighbourhood amenities.

Relative to Toronto and Vancouver, Calgary’s housing market is affordable with the average Calgary need gross income to afford a single detached home sitting at $100,000 compared to $240,000 in Vancouver. There are also other key advantages to buying a home in Calgary including low sales tax, great schools, a rich culture and more. At Park Point in Calgary, one bedrooms condos start in the $290s’, a significant difference from the average $656,900 in Vancouver.

First-time buyers should consider alternatives to the single-detached home as condominium apartments and townhomes are typically less costly. For example, the benchmark price for the average apartment condominium cost was about $242,000 in Calgary in May, based on Calgary Real Estate Board data.

Additionally, looking farther from the city centre tends to yield less costly options. But most important, Jacob Black with RateSuperMartket.ca  suggest buyers arm themselves with information, such as the type of house they want, its likely price range and the amount they can afford.

Shop around for mortgage rates and make sure you’re getting the best deal because that will have an impact on how much you can afford to spend.