well...i've never really thought about it in too deep because like i said, i only just started thinking about the financial part of buying a house before actually looking into what i wanted. but i think ideally, i like the "bachelor" design of the condos. 1 master bedroom, 1.5 bathrooms. would want a garage or underground parking. good parking outside the area (so i guess that excludes downtown). if i were to go townhouse i'd like it to be detached. house parties get kind of rowdy when they happen, don't want anyone banging on the wall telling me to shut up. i'm not really sure what else there is to consider even though i know there's tons of options.
What could you live with for 5 years. Make that would would you LIKE to live with for 5 years? With a salary of $45k and a good down payment you'll qualify for a fairly high amount. Probably $250 +- $50k...
I haven't been in edmonton enough to know the areas, but if you bought a fully detached home in an area with older homes that is being revitalized, you can make a lot more money and have some fun reno'ing the place yourself. Depends if you're into reno's though. I'm more of a car guy but house construction is easy, finding a place with good property and a good structure can make you a lot of money. Rona has 50% off one item days, you can buy all your flooring in one day for 50% off, wait and do the same thing a few months later, etc.
Here's the math side of it.
Typical clean 1-2 br condo-rental in Edmonton is what, $1200 a month? Plus utilities, renters insurance, etc.
If you can find the same unit as a townhome for $250k, the principal interest and taxes would be the same thing (assuming $15k down, 3.19% interest 5 yr fixed (I'm paying 2.15%), 30 year amortization, and $200 a month taxes).
At the end of 5 years you'd have the place paid down to about $215k, and assuming it only sold for enough over the $250k to cover real estate fees, etc. you're $15k has still turned into $45k over the 5 years. In actual fact the $250k townhome could be worth $350+ 5 years from now (who knows in Alberta) and then you're laughing all the way to the bank.
I know my results aren't typical, and I got lucky with a work relocation covering real estate fees, etc., but I made $50k in less than 3 years on my house in Ontario. That was a $236k house to begin with and I had NOTHING to put down.
Here's some calculators to get you started: First National LP - Residential Mortgages - Mortgage Calculators