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High Rise vs. Low Rise Condos: A Guide to Calgary Condo Styles

Feb 24, 2023  
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Calgary, with a population of over 1.2 million and growing, ranks among the most heavily populated metropolitan regions in Western Canada. For those who decide to relocate to a bustling metropolis like this, the decision of whether to opt for a high-rise or low-rise condominium can be a difficult one. This guide will delve into the distinctions between high-rise and low-rise condos in Calgary, their advantages and drawbacks, and what is available in the real estate market of this vibrant city.

What Makes a Condo High- or Low-Rise?

Low-rise condos and high-rise condos are categorized by the height of their buildings, as their names suggest. However, the exact definitions may vary depending on the city or even the country under discussion. For instance, in the United States, a high-rise condo building is generally defined as any structure that exceeds 10 stories.
In Calgary, the criteria are somewhat similar. A building with five floors or less is regarded as a low-rise condo, while a high-rise condominium must have at least 11 floors. Mid-rise condos (6–10 stories) also exist in Calgary, but in most situations, people typically consider anything with ten or fewer stories as a low-rise condominium.
In contrast, according to the Toronto Property Managers at Buttonwood, low-rise condos in Toronto are typically only three or four stories tall.

Life in a Low-Rise Condo

Living in a low-rise condo offers several advantages, the most apparent being that residents are in closer proximity to the street. It takes less time to ride the elevator or take the stairs down to the ground level, making it easier to go to work, run errands, or enjoy a nearby park.

Other benefits of living in a low-rise condominium include:
More Green Space, Less Concrete: Low-rise condos are often located in or near residential areas, and they typically have more landscaped grounds and green spaces.

Less Noise: With lower density living environments, low-rise condos have fewer residents, making them an excellent choice for those who prefer a quieter lifestyle.
Greater Sense of Community: Low-rise condos offer more opportunities to connect with neighbours and build a sense of community.

Easier Move-In: Moving into a low-rise condo is generally less complicated, with fewer regulations and rules. Residents can often move in without hiring a professional moving company, which can be more cost-effective. In addition, low-rise condos are closer to the ground level, requiring fewer floors to navigate.

Despite the advantages of living in a low-rise condo, there are also some drawbacks to consider. For instance, due to their shorter height, residents may miss out on having a breathtaking view of Calgary’s skyline from their unit. Moreover, low-rise condos are generally situated on the outskirts of the city, requiring more travel time for residents who work or socialize in the downtown area.

Pros & Cons of High-Rise Condos

Here are some advantages of residing in a high-rise condo in Calgary:
Condo Amenities: Larger high-rise condos typically offer additional amenities that are not available in low-rise or single-family homes, such as a fitness center, valet and concierge services, and more.

Stunning Views: Being in a tall building, high-rise condo dwellers usually enjoy breathtaking city views.

Urban Lifestyle: High-rise condos are usually found in the central/downtown areas of a city, providing easy access to all the shopping, nightlife, and social activities of urban areas.

Easy Utilities & Maintenance: High-rise condos are already wired for cable, electricity, and other utilities, so new residents do not have to contact utility companies to activate the services.

The main disadvantage of living in a high-rise condo is that it can be more expensive than living in a low-rise. In addition, there are more strict regulations concerning moving into a high-rise, such as having to hire a professional moving company.

Mid-Rise Condos: The Best of Both Worlds?

If you’re looking for a balance between the advantages of both high-rise and low-rise condos in Calgary, mid-rise condos can be a great option. These buildings typically have six to ten floors and provide all the conveniences and amenities of larger condos, while also preserving a sense of intimacy and community that can be lost in larger complexes. Here are some benefits of living in a mid-rise condo:

  • Access to the same amenities as high-rise and low-rise condos.
  • More affordable than high-rise condos.
  • Offers a sense of community that is often lost in larger complexes.

Consider a mid-rise condo if you love the idea of living in a high-rise condo but still want to enjoy the benefits of a low-rise condo building.

What Kind of Condos Are You Likely to Find in Calgary?

Calgary offers a diverse range of condos to suit different preferences, amenities, and access to urban lifestyle activities. Low-rise condos, for example, are typically located on the outskirts of the city. Numerous low-rise condos can be found in Calgary’s Southwest, including the Mission neighbourhood in the south-central area. Meanwhile, most high-rise condos are situated in Connaught, the heart of the city, with additional options available in Downtown and Northwest Calgary. High-rise condos in Calgary can cost anywhere from $200,000 to multi-million-dollar prices, with some even reaching as high as $9 million.

Condo Living is Highly Accessible in Calgary

Calgary is an attractive city that offers a diverse range of high-rise and low-rise condos to suit the needs of anyone looking to relocate. Deciding between a high-rise or low-rise condo depends on the lifestyle, amenities, and distance to downtown that each person desires. Regardless of personal preferences, Calgary offers an excellent array of condo living options to explore.

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