Con­struc­tion up 53 per cent from Jan. 1 to end of June

Calgary Herald New Condos - - New Condos - JOSH SKAPIN

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.”

Pho­tos, Calgary Her­ald/files

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 HOMES

Kurt Gib­son

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