Part of a real estate development company that has constructed residential developments in Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Toronto, Cardel Homes has built more than 8,000 homes in and around Calgary since it’s inception in 1973. CREB®Now caught up with new Calgary regional president Mike Selinger to talk about Cardel, the housing industry and the city he calls home.
CREB®Now>> What’s new with Cardel homes?
Selinger>> [There are] lots of new and exciting things happening at Cardel but most of our time over the last few months has been invested into planning and engineering for the Phase 1 release of Shawnee Park which we are hoping for in late 2014, growing our inner city business, and increasing our capacity for our renovation division which has seen significantly higher demand.
CREB®Now>> What sets Cardel apart from other Calgary builders?
Selinger>> The Cardel brand in Calgary is built around six pillars; 1) innovative floor plans that function better for both the short term and long term, 2) building in great neighborhoods, 3) maintaining higher standards for curb appeal, quality and service, 4) affordability 5) a positive and fun home building experience for our customer, 6) a firm commitment to charitable support for the community. We leverage the knowledge we obtain from working in four cities (Calgary, Ottawa, Denver and Tampa), an experienced staff, and a commitment to exceptional execution to provide our customers with something special. Our services go beyond just building a new house. Cardel offers specialized services in interior design, financing, landscaping and renovations that add to the overall long-term relationships we build with our customers.
CREB®Now>> How would you describe the housing market in Calgary right now?
Selinger>> That depends. We see many specialized markets within the overall Calgary market. One thing that seems to be certain for 2014 is that the cost of building new homes will increase due to rising land development, material, and skilled labour costs. If we add a lower overall supply of housing to the market as another economic factor, affordability will become a very serious issue, not to say that it isn’t already. For example, we started our inner city business about 2 years ago and the costs related to that business have risen almost 20 per cent.
In suburban communities, our sales to young families have been very good but we find that their expectations for higher quality standard features continues to increase, which usually adds cost to the home. Many of our baby boomer customers continue to look for downsizing solutions under $500,000, telling us that simplifying life and saving for retirement are priorities. We are confident that our renovation business will grow in 2014 given the feedback we receive from customers that many of the existing homes on the market need substantial improvements.
CREB®Now>> How has the industry changed since you first came to Cardel?
Selinger>> Density within new communities has increased, resulting in more multi-family solutions. I think higher prices and affordability concerns have forced many buyers to change their expectations relating to needs and wants. The overall growth management policies currently being developed by the City and industry will likely result in changes to how companies structure themselves to purchase land, develop it and build the homes. We find that customers are used to having many housing choices and it will be interesting to see how they adapt to what is available in the market in the future.
CREB®Now>> What advice would you give to someone looking to enter the housing market for the first time?
Selinger>> Select a location that offers the most benefits to your lifestyle. Every location has pros and cons. Take your time to measure them. Understand your budget and stay within it. If you purchase a resale home, evaluate the cost of any renovations before you buy. If you purchase a new home, make sure the home functions properly and is built by a company you can trust.
CREB®Now>> What’s your favourite way to spend a day off in or around the city?
Selinger>> If I can find some water close to Calgary, taking my boat out in the summer.
CREB®Now>> What’s you favourite room in your own home and why?
Selinger>> The developed basement. Watching movies with the family or sports on TV, playing my guitar in the music room, or working out in the home gym. Love it.
CREB®Now>> What’s Calgary’s best-kept secret?
Selinger>> You have to try Big T’s BBQ across from McMahon Stadium. Good stuff.
CREB®Now>> What would you say is the biggest advantage to calling Calgary home?
Selinger>> It’s growing. That can have some disadvantages as well (like having to deal with increased traffic). But overall, living in a growing city is exciting because of new opportunities that hopefully lead to a better quality of life for everyone.