Cost of Living in Calgary and Edmonton

Moving to Alberta? If you are, there’s a good chance that either Calgary or Edmonton will be your destination.


Luxury Condos, Calgary
Luxury Condos, Calgary

On this page, we’ll focus on the cost of living in Alberta’s two major cities, starting with what’s most likely going to be your biggest outgoing:

Accommodation

1. Rental Prices in Calgary and Edmonton

Average rental prices are quite similar in both cities, although Calgary is slightly more expensive on average than Edmonton.

Two Bedroom Rentals
For a two bedroom dwelling, expect to pay from $800 to $2,000 per month, depending on location, size and type.

For example, you’ll pay an average of about $1,500 for a two bedroom apartment in downtown Calgary.

Three Bedroom Rentals
To rent a 3 bedroom dwelling, expect to pay from $1,200 to $2,800 a month.

For example, you’ll pay an average of about $1,200 to $1,600 for a standard three bedroom townhouse in suburban Calgary.

More About Renting

You’ll usually pay a security / damage deposit of one month’s rent. If the property is furnished, you can expect to pay a slightly higher deposit.

Most rental properties are unfurnished, but include carpets/flooring, window coverings, the main kitchen appliances and heating.

Typical appliances you may find included with an unfurnished property are: furnace/heating, dishwasher, waste disposal, oven/stove, microwave, fridge, washer/dryer, air conditioning and central vacuum.

Accommodation – Facilities and Fees

Apartments
Some apartments are built to be rented to tenants rather than sold. Leases for these apartments are normally for 12 months and usually include a stove, dishwasher, fridge and window coverings.


Apartments tend to have shared onsite laundry facilities such as laundry rooms and may include heat and hot water in the rent.

You usually have to pay an extra fee for car parking which can range from $10 to $100 a month. You will pay most for covered energized parking stalls.

Apartments may have extra facilities such as a gym, swimming pool and hot tubs.

You may also be able to rent extra storage space for a monthly fee.

Some apartments will permit small pets and may charge a small non-refundable pet fee, typically $250 per pet.

Condos
With condominium apartments your rent typically covers the cost of heating, water, insurance, garbage disposal, snow removal, landscaping, security and maintenance. Sometimes internet costs and electricity are also included. You may also get facilities like a gym, swimming pool and underground parking included.

If you rent a condo, you don’t pay fees for these facilities. The owner pays them and recovers them in the rent you pay for the condo.

Some townhouses also may have a condominium fee, but these are typically less than apartment condos as townhouses tend to have their own water meters, and usually have their own furnaces and hot water heaters.

If you buy a condo property, your fees will be based on its floor area; they usually range from approximately $0.35 to $0.70 per square foot. So, for a 1000 square foot condo, your fees would usually be in the range of $350 to $700 a month.

2. Property Tax

If you’re renting, you don’t pay this tax.

Property tax is paid by the owners of residential properties; the amount paid is calculated using the property’s value and the area’s tax rate. For most Alberta properties, the tax is in the range of $1,200 – $3,500 per year.

In Calgary, the median residential property tax paid in 2016 was $1,780.

3. Heating: Gas and Electric

Your home in Alberta will probably be heated by a gas powered furnace, which blows heated air through vents placed in the rooms.

Alberta’s cold winters mean that winter bills are significantly higher than summer bills.

For a three bedroom modern townhouse you can expect total monthly electric and gas bills ranging from $280 – $350 per month in the coldest months to $100 -$200 in the summer months.

For some apartments and condominiums the cost of heating and hot water is included in the monthly rent.

4. Utilities: Water, Sewer and Waste Collection

Water is metered in most Calgary and Edmonton properties, and you pay for the amount of water you use as well as a water basic service charge. You also pay a charge for wastewater & drainage and waste & recycling. Average usage in Calgary per person is 7,000 litres of water every month.

Typically, allow about $70 – $110 per month depending on how much water you and your family actually uses.

For apartments and condominiums these costs are usually included in the monthly rent.

5. Telephone, Internet and TV

A typical TV, phone and internet package costs from $120 – $180 per month.

For example, Shaw offers 450 GB/month high speed internet for $60 per month.

Telus offers TV and internet packages starting from $25 per month for the first six months, thereafter the price is $130 per month.

For some apartments and condos, internet costs are included in the monthly rent.

6. Car Insurance, Registration and Gasoline Prices

All vehicles using or parked on public roads or property in Alberta must be registered and insured.

Registration
It costs $84.45 a year to register your car in 2016.

Insurance
The cost of insurance depends on your driver history, the car you drive, where you live, the number of kilometres you drive, the coverage you want, your age, etc.

Premiums are tailored to individual circumstances and can vary considerably between insurers. You can save money by shopping around for the best price.

Fully comprehensive insurance with full liability and collision coverage will cost from around $130 a month with full no claims discount for an experienced, aged over 35, driver.

A driver under 25 can expect to pay from $155 a month for comprehensive insurance.

You can choose between comprehensive insurance or third party liability only.

Third party liability is a cheap option, and premiums are regulated by the Automobile Insurance Rate Board. There is a cap on the maximum amount that you can pay, based on a 32-step system. A driver in their first year of driving in Calgary can expect to pay $165 a month for basic insurance with the minimum third party liability limit of $1,000,000.

Gasoline Prices
Regular gas costs $0.91 a litre, premium gas is $1.02 a litre and diesel costs $0.93 a litre.

7. Health insurance

Alberta has a publicly funded healthcare system, the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP), which guarantees that permanent residents of Alberta receive free access to medically necessary hospital and health care services.

If you are not eligible for AHIP, you should get private health insurance.

It will cost from $100 + to use a walk in clinic if you are not registered for AHIP.

Dental Costs
Routine dental care such as such as cleaning, fillings and the extraction of wisdom teeth is not covered by the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan. Here are some approximate dental costs:

Check–up including scale and polish $190
X rays ( both sides) $40
Amalgam filling back tooth $130
Composite filling back tooth $180
Porcelain Crown $800

8. Monthly Travel Transit Pass

You can buy monthly transit passes for public transport in Calgary and Edmonton.

A pass costs $99 in Calgary and entitles you to unlimited rides on all Calgary Transit services. An adult day pass is $9.50.

A monthly pass in Edmonton costs $91.50 and an adult day pass is $9.25.

9. Grocery Bills

According to Statistics Canada, the average household in Alberta spent $168 a week on food groceries in 2014.
Your grocery bills are very difficult to predict, as spending habits vary from family to family.

For a family of four (two adults and two children) a typical budget would be $220 to $350 a week. You can find more details about the cost of individual food items in 2016 on this page.

In 2016, the Edmonton nutritious food basket total weekly average cost for a family of four was $225.66.*

10. Entertainment

The following are admission costs for a family of four:


›› Bowling: $40 – $60 including shoe rental
›› Calaway Outdoor Family Amusement Park: $125
›› Calgary Zoo: $78
›› Movie admission: $35 – $60
›› Museum admission: Free – $40
›› Indoor Swimming Session: $12 – $30
›› Theatre tickets: $100 – $500

* Source: Government of Alberta