Courtesy Mattamy Homes

Home trends from Calgary’s new-build market

Cultural and economic shifts are pushing this year’s housing trend line into both large and small homes in Calgary’s new-build market.

Large-volume builders Homes by Avi and Mattamy Homes are seeing demand for four-bedroom homes in their northern neighbourhoods, as many customers – particularly from Asian or Indo-Canadian backgrounds – seek multi-generational homes.

And where price is key, the shift continues towards attached units like duplexes and townhomes that come without condo fees, as well as smaller, single-family homes without past years’ glitzy upgrades.

Homes by Avi, 2018’s national homebuilder of the year, has seen strong demand for its Hawthorne model (especially in the northern communities of Carrington and Savanna). The Hawthorne can grow from 2,134 square feet to a 2,400-square-foot home on the same land footprint, adding square footage on the second floor. It also allows buyers to turn the main floor flex room (often used as office space) into a bedroom for multi-generational users, says Avi sales manager Karl Bursnell.

“There is only so much money left in the piggy bank, so rather than the glitz and gold of past years, (younger buyers) are getting into a home that works for them and putting off (upgrades).” – Karl Bursnell, Homes by Avi sales manager

With Calgary’s economy still in rebound mode – compounded by new mortgage qualification rules – Bursnell says younger buyers are either forgoing upgrades like granite countertops to get into smaller, single-family homes under $450,000 throughout the city, or choosing duplexes or townhomes without condo fees.

“There is only so much money left in the piggy bank, so rather than the glitz and gold of past years, they are getting into a home that works for them and putting off (upgrades),” he said.

Mattamy has also seen success in Carrington with larger, four-bedroom homes, including ones with spice kitchens (closed rooms off the main kitchen), originally launched in Cityscape homes.

Like Avi, Mattamy has homes that can expand to larger square footage (including a three-storey model) on the same lot size, and a number of plans offer multiple master bedrooms with ensuites.

“We do a lot of market research,” said Collin Campbell, vice-president of operations and land development for Mattamy, which launched five entirely new floorplans in its Carrington sales centre.

New spring offerings include duplexes with courtyards and rear garages, along with townhomes built in six- and seven-plexes that give customers more buying power for larger square footage, as well as no condo fees.

Campbell says potential buyers were also seeking attached garages, but with a front streetscape, so the garage and mudroom are at the back of the duplexes, with a wide porch off the front. Also, instead of a huge yard, a courtyard sits outside the kitchen.