So often, clients ask me about Canmore investment properties. It’s no secret that Canmore real estate has been a darling investment for Albertans, Canadians and international buyers alike. With the world-class scenery and lifestyle we enjoy here, its no wonder Canadian and international residents and visitors alike flock to this gorgeous mountain town.
Let’s look at what makes Canmore properties & real estate a potentially great investment.
Canmore had its humble start when it was officially named in 1884 by CP rail executives. In 1886, Queen Victoria granted a coal mining charter, with the natural resource industry dominating the local economy until the last mine closed in 1979. Residential development was local and minimal, consisting of modest homes for townsfolk and workers, along with a few family cabins.
In 1988, Calgary played host to the Winter Olympics. Canmore was central for many events and took the world stage, dazzling with its outstanding scenery and landscape. Development, tourism, and the local population began to grow from this time onwards, leading to the Canmore we know today.
Canmore is located 104km from Calgary to the East, and 24km from Banff National Park to the West. Canmore’s proximity to Calgary and its International Airport, makes it a perfect gateway to the Canadian rockies.
Over the past twenty years, Canmore has seen phenomenal growth in property values. Of course, we enjoy some of the best lifestyle and activities right here at our fingertips. The Canmore and Banff tourism industry has reached record numbers of travellers year over year, boosting the local economy. Seasonal hospitality workers provide a strong and steady long-term rental market. Nightly, short-term rentals provide excellent opportunities for investment (which we’ll explore further below).
Nearby Calgary is an international centre of the Canadian oil & gas industry. The city of Calgary boasts the highest concentration of millionaires in Canada, and is one of the largest corporate centres in the country. Bow Valley residents, like their Calgary neighbours, enjoy an average household income of over $100,000/year. This is far above the Canadian average of approximately $70,000/year.
A key factor to the desirability and exclusivity of the Canmore market is that it is a finite resource and thus becomes more valuable as it becomes more scarce. Our beautiful surrounding mountains envelope this idyllic mountain town, limiting outward expansion. This explains the intensification of density we’ve seen in recent decades.
In Canmore, unlike Banff, there is no restriction on residency or “need to reside” legislation. Anyone can own a property here.
Renting your Canmore property on a “long-term” basis (30+ days or more) is a steady and reliable way to ensure your costs are covered. By factoring in things like heating, electricity and internet costs, you can provide all-in solutions to make your property the most attractive to seasonal residents. Fully furnished 30+ day rentals can be very popular with international travellers on a long stay. They are also popular with those looking to leave their Calgary or Edmonton homes for an extended summer or Christmas vacation.
Due to a seasonal service economy, the Bow Valley has some of the highest percentages of renters in the Province. 53% of Banff households have renter tenures, and 31% of Canmore households have renters. This is compared to 27% Alberta wide, indicating a strong base demand for rental housing. Bow Valley rental vacancy rates have generally hovered from 0%-1% in the past decade.
There is certainly no shortage of demand for nightly room rentals in the Canmore market. A decade ago, a lot of visitors only stayed in Canmore when they couldn’t find a room in Banff. This is most certainly no longer the case!
Visitation in Canmore is up, with tourists spending an estimated $344.9M in 2015 alone (25% of which was on accommodation). With the increased traffic, there has been an increase in ways for savvy Canmore real estate investors to get in on the action. The two ways to benefit from the short-term or nightly Canmore rental market are as follows:
While there can be some limits on personal use, this is by far the most common type of Canmore short-term rental investment property. Effectively, a hotel condo allows you to “own a hotel suite,” in a way. If your unit is in the hotel rental pool, you get the benefit of a turn-key investment property. The hotel company markets, books, takes care of your guests and cleans the room up when they’re gone. Of course there is a management fee, but most owners take home a healthy sum of revenue annually from their units if rented well.
You might feel confident in your management skills, or simply want to try a different method of marketing to get your revenues up. With most hotel condominiums, you can use websites like Airbnb and VRBO to self-manage. This could reduce your margins – and increase your profitability.
These are the most scarce of Canmore investment properties, in terms of zoning. This is because they are perhaps the most desirable. The Town of Canmore has zoned only a small amount of dwellings to be tourist homes. What this flexible zoning means, is that owners can live in their property as a full-time permanent residence (unlike hotel condos).
In addition to living full time, they can rent out long term (month-to-month), or nightly. Nightly rentals can be done via Airbnb, VRBO, other websites, or even through existing hotel managed rental pools. These properties can make a truly savvy Canmore investment!
Canadian real estate for the most part has steadily grown in value over the past 17 years according to some reports. Canmore has seen some home values double or triple in the past ten years – and it’s understandable why. There is an old saying about trees that I think applies well to real estate: “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”
A key benefit of having your vacation property or primary residence in Canmore is that you can live the mountain lifestyle you’ve always desired while your smart investment grows. Canmore has four amazing ski resorts within a 1 hour drive. Hiking, camping, kayaking and paddle-boarding are all right here in town. Not to mention countless kilometres of mountain biking trails!
In my opinion, if you love the outdoors and gorgeous mountain scenery, there can be no wrong choice when it comes to Canmore real estate. My best advice would be to follow your gut, and consult with a knowledgeable local real estate agent to find the absolute perfect property for your needs.
Note – this information is provided for personal use only, and is not intended to advise or constitute investment direction in any way. Feel free to contact me for any questions you may have with regards to the Canmore real estate market and I would be happy to assist. Cheers!
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Note: this article is for general informational purposes only and does not replace official agreements/information from management companies, local authorities, or constitute advice. While all efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of information at the time of writing, things can change and it may be updated from time to time. If you have questions about any specific property, let’s connect so I can ensure you have the most accurate information available.