If you are in the market for a new home, it can be difficult to decide exactly what type of home you want to buy. In Calgary, the most popular options for many  is buying a single family home, or a condo. Each option has benefits and drawbacks depending on what your needs and desires are.  

Depending on where you are at in your life and what your needs are will determine which option is the better fit for you. Buying a home is a big expense, so it is always useful to look at the pros and cons of buying a condo compared to a house.

Let’s explore the difference between a condo vs house and you can decide which is the best option for you.

Section 1: Why Should I Buy A Condo?

Is A Condo A Good First Home?

If you are looking to purchase your first home, you may be thinking “should I buy a condo or a house?”. There are many factors that play into the answer to that question, but the cost of the property is often one of the first things to consider.

Our 2021 September Calgary real estate stats report have benchmark cost for a single family detached home in Calgary was $537,500. the benchmark price for a condo in Calgary in September 2021 was $253,200. That is a difference of nearly $300,000, which makes the average condo price substantially smaller than a house.

Condos are much more affordable option for many, the opportunity to build equity along with a smaller down payment, with less to pay each month, makes them a sought after and attainable purchase for first time buyers.

Zero Outdoor Maintenance & Repairs

Why buy a condo? Because one of the biggest advantages is that you are personally only responsible for the interior of your home. There is no grass that you have to mow, you do not have to worry about snow removal, and you don’t have to worry about any building upkeep, such as repairing a roof.

The condo board or management company of the building will be the ones to make sure that the building is maintained and handles any exterior repairs. Condos come with much fewer responsibilities, making it the ideal choice for many people with busy lives or those that have no desire to have upkeep responsibilities when they're home. 

Condo Locations

One of the biggest pros when buying a condo vs. house is where condos are located. Because they are smaller and can be stacked high, it is easy to build them where people want to be. They are often located in downtown cores and where amenities can easily be accessed.

Condos can be built on top of existing buildings, so they are often built where there are many cultural activities, shopping centres, entertainment, and businesses. Living in a condo can reduce commute time, by being closer to employers, unlike home owners, who are often further away in the outer city.

Everything In One Place

More luxury-style and bigger condo communities can get exclusive access to a variety of amenities all within a few steps. These can range from gyms, swimming pools, spas, playgrounds, to bike trails and golf courses.

Most home-owners do not have access to all of this and have to travel to get to the gym or the golf course, so this is certainly an advantage if your are thinking about the pros and cons of buying a condo.

Builds A Community

Another feature to consider when looking into buying a condo vs. house is the proximity to other people. Single-family homes have a greater distance between them and their neighbours, whereas condos are much closer together since your neighbours are above, below, or across the hall from you. Because the amount of resident’s a condo can hold is much larger than that of a single-family home, there are always people around and many condominiums in Calgary have great community and shared spaces including rooftop pools.

Condos will create a community within themselves because of how close the units are to each other and because of the many shared spaces. People that live in condos often have similar interests and lifestyles because of what they have access to. The community that develops within can be a positive factor when deciding on why buy a condo.

Condominiums in Calgary (By Building)

Did you know we have a list of condominiums for sale sorted by building in Calgary? This is the perfect way for you to keep in tune with everything from your favorite downtown high rise buildings to affordable newer developments in Calgary's newest communities. 

Thinking about selling your condominium? List with a real estate team that truly knows how to market your property to the right buyers. Our custom in house video packages include highlights of common spaces in amenity rich buildings as well as aerial footage of the exterior and influences nearby and 4K interior highlights to show off your home to both local buyers and investors looking to purchase in Calgary. 

Are Condos Hard To Sell?

When comparing the condo vs. house investment, one important feature to consider is how re-sellable your condo is. While condos are very popular, they can be difficult to sell, especially in a bad housing market that brings down the average condo price. Unlike owning a home that comes with property making it more attractive to buyers, condos have less to offer for people looking to settle down.

You also have to consider inventory and how many condominiums in one building can be on the market at once, condos come with the downside of basically being the same as all the surrounding condos. This lack of individuality can be a negative if others are trying to sell their condo because they all look the same, so yours might not stand out. This can be especially trying if there are other, newer condo buildings being constructed nearby, as people want the newest models where they can customize the unit to fit their exact needs. For these reasons, it can take much longer to resell, so that is something to consider when buying a condo vs. a house.

Key Takeaways: Why Buy a Condo in Calgary?

There are pros and cons when buying a condo. Here are the main advantages:

  • Condos are  often much more affordable
  • Less maintenance and repairs to worry about
  • Location of condos is hard to beat for many
  • Proximity and access to private amenities
  • Creates a community
  • Underground Parking

Here are the disadvantages we found to buying a condo vs. house:

  • Harder to re-sell
  • Condominium Fees are always there and can go up
  • Special Assessments in common areas can be costly (Thousands) 
  • Construction Risk - Post Tension Cables
  • Can be subjected to fines
  • Restrictions typically in place for pets
  • Limited Storage
  • Parking is limited and you don't always own a stall
  • Ones without security are bigger targets for car break ins. 
  • Condominium management can sometimes turn ugly and could potentially take up tons of personal time and cause unnecessary stress in your life
  • Less freedom for personalization and usage
  • No private outdoor space (aside from patios) 
  • More rules to adhere to
  • Less Privacy
  • More opportunity for conflict, noise, and other complaints

Section 2: What Are The Benefits of Owning A Home?

Is It Better To Buy A House Or A Condo?

Buying a home is one of the biggest investments a person can make. If you are trying to make the choice between a home and a condo, how much you want to spend and where you want to live play a big role. Depending on the size of your family, a house may be a better solution than a smaller condo.

Since these homes are more expensive and come with more responsibilities, you will need to be prepared for that. The further away from the city center the home is, the more affordable it will likely be. If you are ready to take on the challenge of owning your own house and have the funds to sustain the upkeep, this can be the best choice for you like it is for many Calgarians. 

More Property, More Land

If you own a single-family house, it very likely comes with a surrounding property. This is one of the main attractions for buying a house because it gives the buyer a private space to play and relax in. While the outdoor space will need to be maintained by you, the safety of having your own back yard for pets and family to enjoy can be worth it.

Did you know that not all lot sizes are the same and can really vary in size? In Calgary you'll find massive lots in older communities like  Upper Mount Royal - while newer communities like Auburn Bay will really vary in lot sizes. Don't worry though, if you're looking for a new home there are still plenty of options, from Lakefront homes to estate areas, plenty of newer communities still offer properties with bigger lots. 

Take a look at this luxury home we listed recently (and sold) you can see the lot is massive with a driveway and front yard that is bigger than some entire lots in newly developed communities.

More Creative Expression

Since living in a condo allows you only to customize the interior of your home, (which also has limitations) living in a house, allows for both inside and exterior expression. When you own a home, you have the freedom to plant gardens, paint the house as you like, build a treehouse, or put a pool in your back yard. Houses allow for more creative expression that can be altered as much as you like, while living in a condo is quite limited in comparison.

Construction Freedom

Similarly to creative expression, living in a single-family house gives you the freedom to alter the house as you like. You are free to add an extension, build a deck in your back yard, or tear down a wall, which is certainly not a choice for condo-owners.

More Options For Change

If you are hoping to start a business out of your home, depending on what type of service you are offering, your choices may be limited when comparing a condo vs. house. Because of the strict rules that condo managements have to enforce, running a business might not be possible in one, but there are fewer rules for opening one out of your house.

Condos based on size can also have much lower limits on the number of people living in the dwelling, whereas, a single-family house can have as many people as they like living there. This can be a substantial plus if you are looking to grow your family, house relatives, or have long-term guests in your house. Having the extra space that a house can offer, can allow for more hosting, entertaining and gathering especially into the later hours of the night. 

Is It Easy To Sell A Single-Family House?

Single-family houses can be easier to sell because regardless of what the economic market looks like, they will always be worth more than a condo. Property with land is a highly sought-after commodity, so having that peaceful and private yard will always be a big factor in how sellable a house is.

Having the freedom to change, renovate, and make a house your home will be a selling point for a house over a condo. Houses can be more unique and personalized, making them more appealing to buyers, especially those with families.

Key Takeaways: Why Buy a House in Calgary?

While owning a single-family house has a lot of appeal, there are downsides as well. Let’s start with a review of the advantages again:

  • Provides you with valuable property
  • Private outdoor spaces
  • More customizable
  • Freedom to build or renovate as desired
  • No limits on how many people can live in the dwelling
  • Fewer obstacles for running a home business
  • Easier to re-sell

Some of the disadvantages for home-buyers are:

  • Responsible for maintenance and repairs
  • Further away from amenities
  • Longer commutes typically
  • More expensive to buy

Is It Better To Buy A House Or A Condo?

Depending on what you need in a home and what your budget is will determine if you should buy a condo vs a house. There are pros and cons to buying both a house and a condo depending on what your lifestyle currently looks like. A single person will likely want different features in their home, which is why condos can be appealing. Whereas, a couple with children may find a house more suited to their needs.

Overall, both types of homes can offer benefits depending on what your life looks like when you are ready to buy and what your requirements are.

Posted by Calgary Homes Real Estate Partners Team on
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