Project part of ‘walkable’ community
Mortgage promotion to lure buyers
Walkability isn’t something one normally associates with suburbs — with their strip malls and car-friendly streetscapes — but a new, soon-to-be unveiled development in Surrey, B.C., aims to change that.
For the families who will be living at Mirra — a 156-unit Westcoast-inspired low-rise — home is going to be within walking distance to restaurants, stores, groceries and transportation hubs.
“Newton is a real walkable community,” said Nick Askew, president of Pacesetter Marketing, which is handling sales for Mirra. “There’s a lot of infrastructure that makes it neighbourhood-friendly.”
The location — tranquil despite its proximity to bustling King George Highway — is about six blocks away from the Newton bus exchange and a 10-minute drive from the King George SkyTrain station.
Newton is also one of the five Surrey town centres mayor Dianne Watts wants to see spruced up as part of the growing city’s Townshift makeover contest.
The competition is designed to create more livable, walkable and sustainable hubs in each of the areas. Newton’s theme is New Town: Connecting Density to Transit.
The Mirra’s first phase is a four-storey woodframe building made up of 71 units with 12 different floor plans.
The majority of units are onebedroom suites, but options range from a 468 square-foot studio to an 893-square-foot, two-bedroom unit with den.
The exterior is an homage to West Coast sensibilities, with its use of stone, wood and postand-beam construction.
A second phase with 86 suites will be released early next year.
Like most real-estate projects, sale and construction of Mirra was temporarily put on hold last year as uncertainty and turmoil rumbled through world economies.
The year-long delay, however, has turned out to be a boon to aspiring homeowners, who are now beginning to dip their toes anew into the real-estate market.
Half of the units at Mirra are priced under $200,000 — “very affordable in Vancouver dollars,” said Askew.
Half of the homes are also eligible for a mortgage promotion, which allows buyers to pay less than $300 a month for a year after putting down a 10-per-cent deposit.
Taking out his calculator, Askew explained that a $170,000 one bedroom, which might have a $650 monthly mortgage, comes out to only $150 a month for the first year after the developer’s subsidy.
The average monthly rent for the area is about $750 per month.
“It makes it more affordable for first-time homebuyers to buy and for the savvy investor, it makes a lot of sense,” said Askew, adding that interest rates are still near historical lows and some experts predicting average home prices to increase by eight per cent next year.
On display at the presentation centre is a 659 square-foot, one-bedroom-and-den unit that feels spacious despite its compact size.
The floor plan is typical open concept, but stands out because it isn’t meant to be divided as a living room and dining room.
Instead, buyers can put their dining table in the middle of the L-shaped kitchen, or go with the optional add-on of an island, which does double duty as a work space and dining table.
The floors are engineered hardwood, in a dark walnut. All suites have patios or balconies, while most boasts full height pantries for extra storage in the kitchen.
For the units with dens, a big plus is the location of the den along the outside wall.
As a result, instead of the typ- ical dark, windowless cubbies that pass for dens in other projects, the dens at Mirra are airy and light-filled, making them a good spot for a home office or a kids’ playroom.
To keep the units affordable, amenities are kept to a minimum.
There’s no pool, for example — Askew said research found only 20 per cent of tenants would use it regularly — which keeps monthly strata fees down to 22 cents per square foot.
Mirra is scheduled to be completed in spring 2011.
The bedroom in the unit.
A sliding door separates this office area from the rest of the unit, which includes one bedroom plus den.
The open concept great room and kitchen within the unit.