The 8 Best Small Towns to Buy a Home in Southern Alberta

Here are our favourite places to buy a home in Southern Alberta. 

    Alberta offers some of the best rural living options in the country.

So what makes these “the best” areas?

Well of course it is subjective, some people prioritise certain lifestyles over the other. For some a quiet town close to a large city is the ideal for them, and for others (like us) a more rural way of life is preferred.

Something I think we can all agree on, is that it certainly helps when the town is situated in a beautiful spot.

On the list below we have taken into account just that.

We have also taken into account the desirability of the surrounding rural areas, variability in housing options, recreational opportunities, proximity to amenities and the potential of those areas to see a rise in property values over time.

The below are listed purely in alphabetical order and include their surrounding areas (not just the main little town).  Each place is special in its own right.

Bragg Creek  |  Canmore  |  Cardston  |  Cochrane  |  Crowsnest Pass  |  Diamond Valley  |  Okatoks  |  Pincher Creek


Bragg Creek Alberta

Average | Median Sale Price (Detached – 2024) +: $1,097,588 | $1,127,500
Proximity to Calgary: 40 Minutes
Located in: Rocky View County
Nearby Natural Areas of Interest:: Bragg Creek Provincial Park, Elbow Falls Provincial Park, Prairie Creek, Mclean Creek Provincial Park.

Bragg Creek is a gorgeous rural hamlet located about 40 minutes west of Calgary. Some refer to it as Kananaskis’ best kept secret and you can see why.

Nestled in the foothills of the Rockies, Bragg Creek is home to the meandering Elbow Creek, rolling hills, rich green coniferous trees and spectacular rural properties. The residents and visitors here have an appreciation and great respect for the surrounding natural environment. As far as recreational activities – well, look no further. Hiking, biking, fishing, horseback riding, skiing, sight seeing and more are on offer here.

Stop in at the “Heart of Bragg Creek” shopping area to pick up exquisite wines from the local liquor store, or grab a snack at the PowderHorn Saloon and you may even see some cowboys ride in, tie up their ponies and grab a beer. It’s a fun spot!

As far as what style of home you can expect to buy in Bragg Creek… there is a wide range of options. Expect seriously stunning log homes, mountain chalets, large acreages, modern homes to the more modest gems nestled on half an acre. Now and again you may also be able to find vacant land on which to build your dream home.

In terms of re-sale, as of 2023/2024, you’re looking at an average of about 63 days to sell. So it may not be as liquid as one may want but that won’t matter to those who are looking for a place to call home for the long term. With its close proximity to Calgary and to the mountains, you can’t go wrong buying in Bragg Creek.


CANMORE ALBERTA Rural Real Estate & Homes for sale

Average | Median Sale Price (Detached – 2024): $1,775,746  | $1,550,000
Proximity to Calgary: 1 Hour
Located in: MD of Bighorn
Nearby Natural Areas of Interest: Nordic Centre Provincial Park, Banff National Park, Bow Valley Wildland Park, Three Sisters Peak, Ha Ling Peak, Upper Kananaskis Lake.

It will come as no surprise that Canmore is on this list.

If you’ve only ever visited one place in Alberta, it was probably Banff National Park. On your way there you very likely drove through Canmore and marvelled at this quintessential mountain town.

A truly spectacular little spot tucked away on the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies and boarded by the glacier-fed Bow River. Conveniently located just over an hour from Calgary but you don’t need to go that far for amenities, they are all right here.

The residents are proud of their beautiful scenery, historic downtown and outdoor adventures all culminating in a vibrant community spirit. Think a tight-knit community that fosters a sense of camaraderie, connecting with neighbours and gathering at the Canmore Mountain Market in the summer and fall months.

Surrounded by lush forests and mountain peaks, you won’t have a hard time finding something to do outdoors. Hiking, golfing, biking, skiing, sight seeing, horseback riding and rafting are available. 

All of this beauty comes at a price though. The real estate market here can be expensive and is in high demand. Although poised to see even more suburban housing development over the next number of years, you can expect to find everything from classic mountain villas, estates, modern masterpieces to both luxury and modest homes on small lots.

On average you can expect it to take around 61 days to sell a home here as of 2024. This number is slightly skewed by the multiple high value homes ($4M +) that generally take a longer time to sell.

If you enjoy a small town vibe with all the conveniences of big town living (and of course breathtaking beauty), Canmore may be the place for you!



Average | Median Sale Price (Detached – 2024): $352,350 | $305,000
Proximity to Calgary: 2 hrs 30 minutes
Located in: Cardston County
Nearby Natural Areas of Interest: Waterton Lakes National Park,

Nestled amidst rolling hills and vast farmland, Cardston is a picturesque town with a rich pioneering heritage and a community proud of tradition. Presenting a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty all lying in the heart of the prairies.

The town’s close proximity to the stunning landscapes of Waterton Lakes National Park and the Rocky Mountains provides endless opportunities for outdoor adventure, from hiking and camping to fishing and wildlife watching.

Community is at the core for residents here, evident in the well-preserved historic buildings, charming main street and community events.   

Affordable living options are available here, as are more high end luxury acreages. Due to the rural nature of this community homes take a long time to sell here – on average we are looking at about 110 days as of 2024.

If you want a quiet life in a tranquil setting away from the big cities, Cardston is worth exploring.


Cochrane Alberta Rural Homes

Average | Median Sale Price (Detached – 2024): $770,571  | $655,500
Proximity to Calgary: 36 minutes
Located in: Rocky View County
Nearby Natural Areas of Interest:: Big Hill Springs Provincial Park, Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation, Ghost Lake and Bow River.

Just 37kms west of Calgary is the quaint little town of Cochrane. Sitting at the base of “Big Hill” in the Bow River Valley, and with views of the foothills and Rocky Mountains, the stunning natural beauty serves as a backdrop to everyday life here.

Cochrane has a strong and proud western heritage to go along with its pretty views, making it a little slice of paradise close to a big city.

The residents here are hospitable and welcoming, hosting various events and festivals throughout the year. Enjoying a relaxed pace of living while still having access to all the amenities they need, including boutique shops, cozy cafes, delicious dining options and basic everyday necessities.

Outdoor enthusiasts are spoiled for choice with nearby hiking trails, parks, ATV and Snow Mobile trails, making it easy to stay active and explore the picturesque surroundings.

You can snap up a nice suburban home here for a great price, especially as the once little village is seeing quite a bit of urban development! If you’re looking on the outskirts of town in a more rural area, well you might want to check in with your accountant and mortgage broker as you’ll be paying a pretty penny for an acreage out here. For fellow equestrians, this is a great spot to find a property already set up for you and your horses as well.

If you’re selling a home, as of 2024, on average it takes about 45 days to do so. Undoubtably the proximity to Calgary, while also offering expansive living opportunities makes Chochrane a very desirable place to call home.


Crowsnest Pass Rural Real Estate Alberta

Average | Median Sale Price (Detached – 2024): $399,363  |  $350,000
Proximity to Calgary: 2hrs 30 mins
Located in: Municipality of Crowsnest Pass
Nearby Natural Areas of Interest:: Crowsnest Provincial Park, Castle Provincial Park, Bob Creek Wildland, Parts of the Rocky Mountains Forest Reserve.

If you’re really looking to immerse yourself in rural living, Crownest Pass is a beautiful place to do it. In the 70s the town of Crowsnest Pass amalgamated with the nearby towns and hamlets of Bellevue, Blairmore, Coleman, Frank, and Improvement District (ID) No.5. The laid-back pace of life allows for a sense of tranquility and connection to nature that is increasingly rare in today’s world.

A testament to rugged beauty, The Pass offers an abundance of awe-inspiring scenery with towering peaks, lush forests, and pristine lakes. Once a coal mining town, the area is steeped in a rich history. If you’re driving through be sure to stop in at the Frank’s Slide Interpretive Centre for a fascinating telling of the Frank’s slide tragedy. For a good lunch, stop in at The Pass Beer Co. For incredible Pizza and a pint.

Outdoor enthusiasts will fall in love with the ample opportunities for hiking, nearby skiing opportunities, fishing in crystal-clear streams, biking, ATV and snowmobiling adventures, horseback riding, golfing and more!

The sense of community runs deep in The Pass, where neighbours come together to celebrate local events, support small businesses, and preserve the area’s unique heritage and natural surroundings.

Now, the average and median sales price is on the lower side, but if you are looking to buy a rural home or a home on acreage, you should expect to pay upwards of $700,000 for this, and more for if the property comes with a mountain view, which many do.  Time to sell is a littler slower here with the average being 66 days.

Although you may have to drive a bit of a distance to larger stores, mountain living and stunning surrounding come at a decent price in The Pass and boy is the driving worth it for those views!


Diamond Valley Real Estate For Sale

Average | Median Sale Price (Detached – 2024): $563,741  |  $560,000
Proximity to Calgary: 50 minutes
Located in: Foothills County
Nearby Natural Areas of Interest:: Sheep River Provincial Park, Bluerock Wildland Provincial Park.

Tucked away amidst rolling hills and vast prairie landscapes, Diamond Valley epitomises the beauty of Alberta’s countryside. Formerly Turner Valley & Black Diamond separated by the Black Sheep River – the two amalgamated in January of 2023. This is a rural town about 50 minutes south of Calgary.

Residents here enjoy a tight-knit community atmosphere, where friendly neighbours quickly become like family. With a slower pace of life, Diamond Valley provides a respite from the hustle and bustle of city living, something we hope remains for many years to come.

Similar to other areas already mentioned, Diamond Valley offers extraordinary outdoor recreating. Horseback riding, sight seeing, hiking or cycling on the town’s Friendship Trail. If you’re looking for some epic views, be sure to take a drive down to the Bluerock Woodland Provincial Park area and marvel at the beautiful scenery along the way.

If tasty bites are your thing, Westwood is a MUST visit. And for the best milkshake – I would argue in the country – check out the iconic 50s style diner Marv’s Classic Soda Shop. Neither will disappoint.

You can find affordable living options here but properties don’t last long. The average days on market for 2023/2024 was about 32 days. A range of properties are available, from cute suburban gems to sprawling acreages. Horse properties and large homes with plenty of charm too.

We were hesitant to put this town on the list as we’d like to maintain the rural charm here. So be sure to only make the move here only if you are ready to embrace a rural way of life.


Okatoks Real Estate Alberta

Average | Median Sale Price (Detached – 2024): $689,432  |  $630,000
Proximity to Calgary: 33 minutes
Located in: Foothills County
Nearby Natural Areas of Interest:: Various Woodlands & Wetlands

The perfect balance between small-town living with all modern amenities you need, just 30 minutes south of Calgary. Nestled along the Sheep River Valley with stunning views of the Rocky Mountains and acres of sprawling farmland, Okotoks boasts a picturesque setting that you’ll adore.

This is a growing community that has seen a lot of urban development over the last numbers of years. As both Calgary and Okatoks expand, it is starting to feel like Okatoks is becoming a suburb of Calgary. You have access to all the amenities you need here as well as good schools and safe neighbourhoods – it is easy to see why this area is vastly becoming a top choice for families.

Despite development, residents and the township have implemented green initiatives and commitment to preserving green spaces. Plus, there are numerous opportunities to enjoy the outdoors with multiple golf courses and extensive pathways for hiking and biking in the beautiful surroundings.

A mix of housing opportunities are available in Okatoks. In town you can find newly built homes on large lots, older homes in need of some TLC and everything in between. On the outskirts of town, you can find impressive, high end homes with postcard views of the mountains, timber frame beauties and picturesque farms.

It doesn’t take long to sell a home here. As of 2024, the average days on market sits at 27 days with the median being noteworthy at only 15 days.


Pincher Creek Rural Real Estate

Average | Median Sale Price (Detached – 2024): $377,974  |  $341,000
Proximity to Calgary: 2hrs 10minutes
Located in: MD of Pincher Creek No. 9
Nearby Natural Areas of Interest:: Beauvais Lake Provincial Park, Castle Wildland Provincial Park, Oldman River.

The spirit of “the west” is alive and well in the incredible rural area of Pincher Creek with a strong and thriving ranching community. Situated at the doorstep of the majestic Rocky Mountains, residents enjoy spectacular Livingstone Mountain Range, vast pastureland and pristine waterways.

Community is at the heart of life in Pincher Creek, where friendly faces are a familiar sight. The town’s rich history is evident in its charming downtown, lined with historic buildings and local shops, where residents gather to support small businesses and connect with neighbours.

If you’re staying, make sure to hit up Pincher Creek Meats for some of THE MOST delicious “ranch to table” meat we think you’ll find anywhere. Plus every Friday they do a Brisket on a Bun that is surreal. Driving through town you’ll see deer lounging in backyards and grassy patches without a care in the world.

Pincher Creek is an adventurer’s paradise – enjoy nearby hiking, fishing, skiing, horseback riding, or simply take a drive and explore the rural roads that boast million dollar views.

Although homes are affordable here, similar to others, rural homes do come with a higher price tag. This is a rural community so although all your necessities are in town, accessing major big box stores means having to drive to Lethrbidge or Fernie in BC. As you might imagine, home take a while to sell here where 71 days is about the norm.

This is a special place. And new residents are welcoming. But it is important that those moving here know it is important to integrate into the culture, while also ensuring you maintain respect for the land, the ranchers and abundant wildlife.

If you would like to purchase a home in this region, please reach out to us.

Looking for a rural home in Ontario? Read out “The 8 Most Popular Areas to buy a home in Ontario” post here.


For the latest statistics on RURAL Home prices in Southern Alberta, be sure to read out 2023/2024 Rural Home Report [Alberta] by clicking the image below. 

Alberta Rural Home Prices - 2023/2024
Aimee Wesson

Written By: Aimee Wesson

Sales Representative


Read our FREE annual reports and buying guides here!

Alberta 23/24 Rural Home Report:

AB 2023 - 2024 Rural Home Report

Ontario 23/24 Rural Home Report:

Rural Home Report for Ontario 2023/2024

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