De­mand up in area com­mu­ni­ties

Calgary Herald New Condos - - New Condos - JOSH SKAPIN

New con­struc­tion of multi-fam­ily de­vel­op­ment in com­mu­ni­ties sur­round­ing Cal­gary in­creased last month from the same time in 2013, says a federal agency.

In Air­drie, Cochrane and Ch­ester­mere com­bined there were shov­els in the ground on 183 multi-fam­ily homes. This is a 298 per cent up­swing from the 46 starts in these ar­eas a year ear­lier. Multi-fam­ily hous­ing in­cludes du­plexes, apart­ments and town­homes.

“We have seen a pro­nounced in­crease in multi-fam­ily starts in Air­drie, mainly driven by new apart­ment con­struc­tion,” says Richard Cho, Canada Mort­gage and Hous­ing Corp. se­nior mar­ket an­a­lyst.

In Air­drie, there were 144 starts last month af­ter zero broke ground dur­ing the same time in 2013. “The de­cline in apart­ment in­ven­to­ries has con­trib­uted to an in­crease in new con­struc­tion along with favourable eco­nomic con­di­tions,” says Cho.

“Multi-fam­ily units, on aver­age, are priced lower and have at­tracted var­i­ous buy­ers such as first-time home­own­ers.”

Air­drie also saw a climb in con­struc­tion for town­homes. Last month, con­struc­tion started on six units fol­low­ing four starts in April of 2013. Mean­while, new con­struc­tion of du­plexes eased to four starts last month af­ter eight broke ground in April of last year.

“We’ve seen very strong de­mand,” says Tracy Cor­bett, man­ager of plan­ning and sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment for the city.

“See­ing not just first-time home buy­ers but a range of prod­uct from street towns to the rear back-toback to four-storey (build­ings).”

In Cochrane, starts in­creased with du­plexes and town­homes and stayed the same for apart­ments. The uptick in buyer in­ter­est out­side Cal­gary city lim­its is driven by “cost and style of liv­ing,” says Peter Dono­van of Cal­bridge Homes. He sells du­plexes in the com­mu­nity of Fire­side. Other com­mu­ni­ties sell­ing multi-fam­ily homes in Cochrane in­clude Sun­set Ridge, The Wil­lows, Heart­land, River­song and Riviera.

On what’s at­tract­ing people to move to Cochrane, “num­ber 1 is price,” says Dono­van.

“We start in here around the ($355,000) range for a com­pleted home and work your way up.

“We are very price con­scious or price sen­si­tive here in Fire­side, and Cochrane in gen­eral.”

Du­plexes by Cal­bridge in Fire­side launched about three months ago and are now 20 per cent sold out.

A num­ber of these buy­ers are also pick­ing Cochrane be­cause of what many call a small town feel, Dono­van adds.

“It’s coun­try liv­ing yet (a) half-hour drive to down­town Cal­gary,” notes Dono­van.

In Ch­ester­mere last month, con­struc­tion eased. All five starts were town­homes. Dur­ing the same time last year, 12 du­plexes broke ground and there were 14 town­home starts.

La Vita Land

Con­struc­tion of multi-fam­ily hous­ing in com­mu­ni­ties sur­round­ing Cal­gary, like Fire­side in Cochrane, is on the rise.

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