The inner-city area of Calgary is proving to be a hot market for the construction of new single-family homes this year.
According to data by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., year-to-date until the end of June, there were 204 single-detached starts in the city’s ‘centre’ zone this year, which has increased by 35.1 per cent compared with a year ago.
Since 1999, the highest ever yearly total for starts for single-family homes was in 2006 at 339 units. Last year, builders started 287 single detached homes in the inner-city area.
Beata Glod, president and owner of Le Chateau Custom Homes Ltd., who has seven projects under construction in the inner city, said she focuses on that specific area because of “urban living.”
“I live myself in the inner city and I see people they love it too. That urban feeling,” she said. “The closeness to restaurants, parks, and pathways and coffee shops. Plus you can have a new house with lots of mature trees. So lots of greenery. It’s urban living. I just love it.
“The economy is going (well) right now. You can see it booming and we have (bigger) builders moving into the inner city and building as well.”
According to the CMHC, year-to-date until the end of June, there were 188 single-detached homes that were completed in the centre zone, up 43.5 per cent from a year ago. At the end of June, 407 homes were under construction in the area which was up by 3.6 per cent from last year at the same time.
And year-to-date, 187 occupied new single-detached homes were in the $700,000 plus range with two between $600,000 and $699,999.
“There will always be people interested in living in the inner city,” said Richard Cho, senior market analyst in Calgary for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. “These areas are closer to downtown, tend to have more public transit options, and are usually closer to various amenities.
“While many of these homes tend to be priced higher, rising incomes, low mortgage rates. increased equity gains from rising home prices, have helped support demand.”
Wayne Copeland, president of the Canadian Home Builders Association-Calgary Region, said the attraction to inner-city building is quite simple. Location.
“It’s close to downtown, work and there’s some established schools in those neighbourhoods,” said Copeland. “That’s an attraction for the person who is looking for that.
“Matured neighbourhoods. Nothing like driving down the street of your own street that’s got all these big huge trees. Large lots. The established side of that community is also really nice as well.”
Inner-city living though comes at a price and some of the challenges for building single-family homes there include the availability of property and the cost of land, he said, adding that he sees the trend to building in the city’s centre will continue for some time.