If you are considering investing in property abroad – and, more specifically, in Calgary, Canada – there are a number of matters you’ll need to consider before taking the leap. From the status of the Canadian property market itself to the steps you should take in order to adhere to all relevant legislation, it can be difficult to know where to start. However, in this article, Property Solvers (experts at helping UK homeowners that need to sell fast) have put together a few tips to help you on your way.
Educate Yourself on the Price of Calgary Property
As of late summer 2019, the average price of a house in Calgary was C$420,500 or just over £250,500. This represents a 2.7% drop when compared to the same period in 2018.
In the UK, this figure is around the same as the average price of a property in Dover, Kent.
The average monthly rent in Calgary sits between C$1,365 (just over £810) and C$1,712 (just over £1015) depending on the area, though this figure seems likely to rise.
Prepare for Fluctuations in the Value of the Pound
As a result of the UK’s ongoing push to leave the European Union, it’s worth noting that the value of the pound is not currently stable and - depending on future developments - has the potential to change significantly over short periods of time.
As a result, you’ll need to prepare for some differences in the types of property you’ll be able to afford when your funds are converted to Canadian dollars.
Understand the Logistics
Luckily, Canada represents a relatively easy option when it comes to foreign investment. Non-residents of Canada have the same rights as residents in terms of property ownership and banking.
However, if you intend to live in Canada yourself for six months of each year or more, you’ll need to apply for immigrant status.
Consider Your Mortgage Options
If you wish to apply for a mortgage, you will need to do so via a Canadian bank or broker. You’ll also need a specialist lawyer based in Canada. You’ll be required to be pre-qualified for a mortgage before you can put down an offer on a property if you’re not paying in full up front.
Most commonly, you’ll need to put down 35% of the property’s value as a down payment if you’re a non-resident. On top of this, you’ll also need to budget for:
- Transfer tax. This equates to one percent of the first 100,000 dollars and two percent on the balance
- Legal fees
- Any additional bank fees
- Any amounts required upon closing
Engage a Realtor
Unlike in the UK – where prospective buyers work with estate agencies in order to find and purchase their ideal property – house-hunters in Canada are usually assisted by a specialist realtor who will help in the search and negotiate with sellers and lawyers on their behalf.
Finding an expert who totally understands your requirements is the key to a successful and easy purchase moving forward.
Get to Know the City
If you’re planning on investing in property in Calgary, it’s sensible to familiarise yourself with the area first. Weather-wise, the city sees temperatures similar to most parts of the UK throughout spring and summer, with typical highs of 23°C and lows of 10°C in July, the hottest month.
It has the potential to be a great deal colder in winter, however, with highs of -3°C and potential lows of -14°C in January. Because of this, it’s important to ensure that any property you purchase is thoroughly insulated and protected from the cold.
One of the major benefits of investing in Calgary property is that the area experiences far less rain than the likes of other major cities like Vancouver and Toronto, with an annual precipitation of around of 419 mm. Compared to the UK average of 885 mm, you’re likely to see far fewer rainy days.
Surrounded by beautiful grasslands with the Bow River running through its centre, Calgary is a picturesque place to live. The best approach - particularly if you’re taking a buy-to-let approach - is to invest in property located in the city’s more popular districts, which include:
- The Beltline
- The Downtown Core
- Aspen Woods
- Signal Hill
- Arbour Lake
- Huntington Hills
Taking on property in one of these highly-sought-after areas will make it far easier to find tenants.
For further information about the process of investing in property in Calgary, we recommend making contact with Calgary City Hall.
However, taking the above advice on board and preparing thoroughly for all eventualities will help you start out with your best foot forward.
Justin Havre is the top producing REALTOR® with RE/MAX First, Canada's very first RE/MAX brokerage. Calgary real estate is his passion; Justin specializes in Southwest & Northwest Calgary homes for sale. He can be reached at 403.217.0003 or contacted through this site.