Luxury residential development launches more sales phases – Watermark at Bearspaw seeing growing interest in property

A luxury residential development just outside Calgary’s city limits has launched new sales phases for the project to take advantage of the growing appetite by homebuyers for high-end property.

The Watermark at Bearspaw development recently launched the third phase of its single-family estate lots and will launch the fourth and final phase of its luxury villas on September 27.

“It’s definitely a very positive sign for the market. We definitely see growth continuing. There’s a lot of interest in the single-family lots,” said Ian Macdonald, director of sales and marketing for the projected located in Rocky View County, just off Twelve Mile Coulee Road.

“It’s tremendous to see how the market has taken to this type of product.”

The Watermark community launched in March 2011.

The first phase consisting of 108 single-family lots are 100 per cent sold. The second phase of 66 lots is just over 85 per cent sold and the third phase has just released 30 lots.

Currently, said Macdonald, there are about 60 occupied homes in the community and about 60 homes under construction.

The project also includes a total of 101 semi-detached luxury villas.

“They’re tiered in a way that they have spectacular panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains. They’re walkout bungalows ranging from 2,000 to 2,600 square feet between both levels,” said Macdonald. “We have sold out of our first phase, our second phase, we’re 85 per cent sold in our third phase and we are releasing our fourth and final phase on September 27.”

The first phase had 32 villas. The second phase 14. The third phase 27. The fourth phase 28.

The villas were released just over a year ago and 68 have sold. First occupancies are expected before the end of this year.

The development is bordered by two golf courses – Lynx Ridge and Bearspaw. The Tuscany LRT station is also nearby.

The 116 hectares of property will eventually include 469 single-family homes and 101 luxury villas.

Interest in the luxury new home development is mirroring what is happening in the city’s resale market as Calgary is on pace to set a record again this year for MLS sales of properties more than $1 million.

“Sales priced over a million have been representing a larger share of our market,” said Ann-Marie Lurie, chief economist with the Calgary Real Estate Board. “Year-to-date (until the end of August) 611 million-plus sales occurred within city limits, representing 3.3 per cent of total share of sales. On a year-to-date basis this represents a steady annual climb since 2009 when the share of sales dropped to 1.46 per cent. Most of the million-plus product is in the single-family market. In August, 90 per cent of the inventory was for the single-family product type.

“A growing economy, low lending rates, improving wages and rising prices supporting equity gains for existing home owners, has supported demand growth for this segment. With no significant changes expected throughout the remainder of the year, the million-dollar segment will continue to represent a larger share of all sales.”

Felicia Mutheardy, acting senior market analyst for the Prairie and Territories for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., said so far this year the number of absorptions for new homes priced at or over $1 million has increased 27 per cent to 353 units from 279 units in 2013.

“The higher pace of housing activity in Calgary has been attributed to a number of factors, including job creation and gains in income levels,” she said. “As well, some homeowners have been experiencing gains in equity, which has offered them an opportunity to sell their existing home and move into a larger home. This has increased absorptions across a number of price ranges, including luxury homes.”

Don Campbell, senior analyst with the Real Estate Investment Network, said that with average prices growing a rapid pace across the board, the number of houses being sold in the luxury price range is increasing as the benchmark number where luxury has been defined has not moved to keep up with the pace.

“The second impact is the positive consumer confidence that has been brought on by the city having the highest average family household income in Canada of $98,000 and an overall lower tax rate. This combo leads to higher take-home pays than anywhere else in the country – which is providing Calgary families with the income to support larger and more expensive home purchases.”

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