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

Posted by Justin Havre on Wednesday, October 12th, 2022 at 9:31am.

High Rise vs Low Rise Calgary Condos

With 1.2 million residents and counting, the city of Calgary is one of the most populous metro areas in all of Western Canada. When choosing to move to a large metro area like this, newcomers may grapple with whether to seek out a high-rise or low-rise condo to live in. This guide will explore the difference between high- and low-rise condos in Calgary, their pros and cons, and what one can find on the market in this bustling city.

What Makes a Condo High- or Low-Rise?

As the names imply, low-rise condos and high-rise condos are differentiated based on how tall their respective buildings are. The definitions can also vary based on what city or even country is being discussed. For example, down in the United States, a high-rise condo building is considered (on average) to be any building that is more than 10 stories tall.

In Calgary, the definitions are about the same. To be considered a low-rise condo building, it must be five stories or fewer. Any apartment building that is 11 or more stories in height is considered a high-rise. Mid-rise condos (6–10 stories) are also present in Calgary, but in most contexts, people generally understand anything 10 or fewer stories as a low-rise.

Comparatively, the Toronto Property Managers at Buttonwood state that in Toronto, low-rise condos are only three or four stories tall.

Life in a Low-Rise Condo

One of the most obvious advantages of a low-rise condo is that residents are closer to the street. It does not take as long to ride the elevator or take the stairs down to the ground level, where residents can quickly head to work, the grocery store, or a local park for some relaxation.

Other advantages of living in a low-rise condo include:

  • Less Concrete, More Green: Low-rise condos tend to be situated in or near residential areas. They are much more likely to have landscaped grounds and green spaces.
  • Reduced Noise: Low-rise condos have lower-density living environments for all their residents. For those who just aren't into the hustle and bustle of a downtown urban area, low-rise condos have fewer people around and more peace and quiet.
  • Greater Sense of Community: It's easier to meet the neighbours in a lower-density low-rise than it is in a more dense type of condo situation.
  • Easier to Move In: There are fewer rules and regulations covering when and how to move into a low-rise condo. Many high-rises tend to require owners to hire a professional moving company to move their furniture. In a low-rise, residents can do it themselves for less money. A low-rise condo will also be closer to the ground level and thus have fewer floors to navigate.

There are also a few downsides to living in a low-rise condo. Since the building is not as tall, residents are less likely to have a Calgary condo with a fantastic skyline view. Low-rises also tend to be on the outskirts of Calgary, so it requires more travel if residents work or play in the downtown area.

Pros & Cons of High-Rise Condos

Condos in Calgary, AlbertaHere are some of the advantages of living in a high-rise condo in Calgary:

  • Condo Amenities: Larger high-rise condos often have additional amenities that owners won't have in a low-rise or single-family home. Amenities can include a fitness center, valet and concierge services, and more.
  • Beautiful Views: By nature of living in a taller building, residents in high-rise condos tend to have stunning views of the city.
  • Big City Lifestyle: High-rise condos tend to be concentrated in the central/downtown areas of a city. This keeps residents close to all the shopping, nightlife, and social activities of an urban area.
  • Easier Utilities & Maintenance: High-rise condos are already wired for cable, electricity, and the like. When new residents move in, they don't need to call utility companies and schedule an appointment to turn on the water, electricity, or WiFi.

The main downside to living in a high-rise condo is that it will likely cost more than a low-rise. In addition, there are also stricter rules regarding how and when new residents can move into a high-rise; new owners may have to hire a professional moving company.

Sold on the idea of living in a high-rise condo? View all the best Calgary high-rise condo listings.

Mid-Rise Condos: The Best of Both Worlds?

While mid-rise condos are often lumped in with low-rise condos in Calgary, they may be worth considering for those who are looking for the best of both worlds. Mid-rise condo buildings typically have anywhere from six to ten floors, and they provide all the convenience and amenities of larger condo buildings while maintaining the sense of intimacy and community that is often lost in those larger complexes. Mid-rise condos are a potential option for people who like the idea of a high-rise condo but don't like some of the disadvantages of living in one.

Here are some of the advantages of living in a mid-rise condo building:

  • They offer all of the same amenities as high-rise and low-rise condos.
  • Mid-rise condos are typically more affordable than high-rise condos.
  • They offer a sense of community that is often lost in larger complexes.

Love the idea of living in a high-rise condo but still want to maintain the advantages of low-rise condo buildings? Be sure to consider a mid-rise condo instead.

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

Calgary has a terrific mix of low-rise and high-rise condos available in the city. It all depends on what features, amenities, and access to urban lifestyle activities a resident wants.

Low-rise condos tend to be concentrated on the outskirts of the city. There are dozens of low-rise condos in Calgary once a person travels out of the city center and the downtown corridor. The vast majority of low-rise condos are situated in Southwest Calgary real estate and the Mission neighbourhood in the south-central part of the city.

Most of the high-rise condos in Calgary are situated in Connaught, right in the heart of the city, with more available in the Downtown area and in Northwest Calgary real estate. Prices for high-rise condos in Calgary typically range anywhere from $200,000 to the multi-millions, with some even going as high as $9 million.

Condo Living is Highly Accessible in Calgary

This beautiful city provides a great mixture of high-rise and low-rise condos for people thinking of moving to Calgary. Choosing between a high- or low-rise condo really depends on the lifestyle, amenities, and proximity to the downtown area for each individual. No matter a person's personal preferences, Calgary offers a great variety of condo living experiences to choose from.

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