Construction up 53 per cent from Jan. 1 to end of June
Affordability is driving a heightened demand for duplexes among Calgary area homebuyers this year, say city builders.
From Jan. 1 to the end of June, 724 duplexes broke ground in the Calgary census metropolitan area. This marks a 53 per cent upswing from the 472 starts a year earlier, says Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.
The census metropolitan area includes activity from surrounding cities and towns, such as Airdrie, Cochrane and Chestermere.
“I think a lot of it is that there’s a shift in affordability,” says Kurt Gibson, general manager of Brookfield Homes’ single-family division.
The company sells duplexes in the southeast Calgary communities of Auburn Bay and Cranston. Brookfield’s duplexes start from the low $300,000s, before tax.
Gibson says today some starter homes are in the $350,0000 range and “not everyone can afford that.
“I think you’re seeing people say, ‘What are our options?’ I still think the duplex product is attractive to people because having that common wall or that property line saves cost on land and construction costs.”
Gibson says the common wall and property line cuts costs by about 10 per cent.
“Plus, they get a yard,” says Gibson. “Not all multi-family projects, even in townhouses, come with a yard or even that much outside space.
“Usually it’s just a deck or just small green space where these people actually have a nice yard.”
The value in a duplex purchase is also part of what’s bringing buyers to attached homes by Sabal Homes, says regional sales manager James Sharp.
“We approach attached homes with a focus on excellent quality, innovative design and long-term value,” says Sharp. Sabal offers duplexes in the southeast Calgary community of Mahogany.
“With that, we’ve seen an evolution in the buyer’s mindset regarding attached homes.
“People today realize that construction practices have improved, limiting the perceived negative impact of sharing a common wall with the neighbours.”
Sharp says the dividing wall is one-foot thick, which he says “creates a single-family-like living space, especially when combined with Sabal’s open-concept designs and well-planned layouts.”
Down-sizers and first-time homebuyers are the two purchasers turning to Sabal’s duplexes more than others, explains Sharp.
“These purchasers place a high priority on the design, livability, long-term appeal and construction of their homes,” adds Sharp.
“In addition, today’s attached homes are located in appealing areas in great new communities.
“Being located in close proximity to value-adding amenities only adds to the appeal of already attractive homes.”
An example of a duplex by Brookfield Side-by-Side. The common wall helps cut costs by up to 10 per cent.
The dining area within the show home in Cranston. KURT GIBSON, BROOKFIELD