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