While buying a new home is usually to fulfil a person or family’s lifestyle needs, it can also be good business.Along with first-time buyers, downsizers and young professional couples, investors are a prominent demographic purchasing homes at new multi-family developments in the Calgary area.They seek desirable floor plans, locations that offer value, and purchase these apartments and townhomes to rent them out.“I think this is the perfect market right now for investors,” says Kimberly Poffenroth, Urban Analytics’ vice-president, business development and market analysts – Alberta, citing “price drops,” at some developments, particularly in units that are ready for possession, as prime opportunities.Urban Analytics is a market research and advisory firm.“Any projects that are complete and do have standing inventory, and are move-in ready, that’s where you’re seeing great opportunities for investors, because (in some cases) they can jump in and buy them, essentially, at pre-sale prices now.”While Calgary hasn’t seen activity from foreign investors at the same rate as the markets in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, says Poffenroth, she is seeing a pique in interest.“I have been speaking to a number of foreign investor firms that have been interested in the Calgary market,” she says. “I do see an opportunity there, it just hasn’t been fully captured.”Poffenroth says the investor buyer, while present, “isn’t as present as they could be.”“I think marketing to other cities and overseas could be a beneficial opportunity for a lot of developers,” she adds.In the Calgary area, “You are seeing more local investors purchasing,” Poffenroth says. “They’re seeing how strong the rental market is right now in Calgary, and seeing that as an opportunity, or purchasing it and anticipating to live there down the road, but they might rent it out for a couple of years first.”Boris and Janice Marinic are among them.Three years ago, the couple — who live in Douglasdale — first waded into real estate investment. Now they have three condos in the lake community of Mahogany.“It was just happenstance,” says Janice, of their first purchase, a one-bedroom condo at Sandgate by Hopewell Residential. “I had some time to kill, went in, saw their plans, and fell in love with the idea. I think there’s potential here.“We were going in quite early, and thought now is the time to do it, because once (builders) have completed the build, usually prices go up,” she says, adding they’ve found their investment has “appreciated by the time you even walk in the front door.”While visiting the development and its progress on a weekly basis, the couple discovered, in the same southeast Calgary community, Calligraphy in Westman Village, buying two more condos here — one with a single bedroom and the other with two.Westman Village is an innovative, amenity-abundant community by Jayman Built within the community of Mahogany.Both of Boris and Janice’s one-bedroom condos are presently rented out to single people, and they expect their condo with two bedroom and two bathrooms, once ready for possession, will provide an ideal layout for a range of living arrangements.“Even for older, established people who may have (adult) children who may want to visit them, there’s extra space,” says Boris, adding the two-bedroom condo is one they may eventually move into, when they’re ready to downsize, about five years from now.With location the No. 1 rule of real estate, buying three condos within the same community was no coincidence.“It is right on Deerfoot Trail and Stoney Trail,” Janice says, adding her tenants have remarked on the convenience of access to these major arteries.Both Sandgate and Westman Village residents also benefit from their close proximity to the South Health Campus hospital in the nearby community of Seton, sitting less than a five-minute drive away, the couple adds.“There are so many amenities there with stores and restaurants … there is a lot of value, even for retirement, to just set up shop there,” Boris says.At Westman Village, the tenants will receive access to the community’s unique 40,000-square-foot Village Centre, which boasts a range of amenities, such as two swimming pools, a woodworking facility, wine cellar, indoor garden, fitness facilities, indoor garden and golf simulator.Jennifer Currie de Urrutia, sales manager for Hopewell, says investors are “always interested in finding the best quality and value for their dollar.”“(Investors) love Sandgate’s well-designed one-bedroom plans and also appreciate its amenities, including a fitness centre, Great Lawn and pet-friendly homes,” she says.“Mostly, investors are looking at this as a long-term investment and base their purchasing decisions on the modern finishes that Sandgate offers, the lock-and-leave convenience, the high-quality finishings and craftsmanship, as well as the amenities offered at Sandgate,” Currie de Urrutia adds. “They also know how much people love living in Calgary’s best lake community.”When it comes to investors, to no surprise, location counts for a lot, says Poffenroth.“Seton, last year, actually had 20 per cent of all of Calgary’s multi-family home sales, and a ton of investors,” she says, of the mixed-use development by Brookfield Residential commonly dubbed the downtown of southeast Calgary. “Investors saw that opportunity in the Seton market, with the price points that they’re offering — and the fact that they’ll have an employment centre there, they looked at that and getting in on that community in the early stages, and saw that as a great opportunity.”A community near the University of Calgary, Foothills Medical Centre and Market Mall, was another draw.“University District has also seen a high number of investors,” says Poffenroth. “They’re looking at it from the opportunity of ‘What if my kid goes to U of C?’ or ‘What if someone I know is working at the hospital?’”Having substantial employment hubs near University District by West Campus Development Trust, which has multi-family developments by Brookfield Residential, Avi Urban and Truman Homes, “has been a huge asset for investor buyers,” says Poffenroth.“We are seeing those (investor) sales occur more likely in areas where there are employment centres either within walking distance or a short commute,” she adds.