When Genstar Developments conceived Devonshire Village, one of the goals was to achieve a diverse housing mix. Now, with the addition of The Gateway — a townhome complex conceived by Edmonton-based Daytona Homes— the community will truly have something to offer everyone, from single-family homes to condominiums, and now, affordable two-storey townhomes.
Daytona Homes’ vice-president of land development, Alexander "Sandy" Ladd said the reason for the 23-year-old company’s entry into the Winnipeg market is simple: "We’re a builder whose main focus is on first-time buyers, and buyers who are looking for a move-up home," he said. "We looked at the Winnipeg market, and thought there was a need for that type of product there. I think we can provide what the market is looking for with our proven product, and what we’ve learned in building it in other communities in western Canada."
What Daytona Homes has done in those communities is simple, said Ladd. "Our goal in Winnipeg is the same — to build affordable homes people can be proud of. People will be able to own the homes outright, and there won’t be any condo fees to pay."
The townhomes — 55 two and three bedroom attached homes spread out over 11 buildings — will range in size from 1,220 square feet to 1,280 sq. ft. Prices will start at $269,900 and top out at about $289,900.
"They’re going to be good-looking, affordable homes," said Ladd. "Each one will come with its own backyard with patio as well as a cement pad that will enable buyers to build a garage on it if they desire. They are going to be homes in the truest sense of the word."
As for interior finishes, Ladd said the homes will be nicely appointed. "Standard finishes will include carpeting, linoleum, laminate countertops and thermofoil cabinets, with some nice extra touches such as backsplashes and lighting upgrades. There will be three different interior packages to choose from, and a limited number of upgrades will be available."
Russ Wyatt, who has represented Transcona on Winnipeg’s city council since 2002, said he welcomes Daytona Homes’ entry into the Winnipeg marketplace.
"I think it’s good to have competition, and in particular, it’s good for consumers," he said. "Daytona Homes is going to provide an affordable housing option for first-time buyers and families looking to upgrade to a second home." Not only that, but The Gateway is making good use of vacant land within city limits, he added.
"This project is using infill land, which is a real plus. It’s also in a great location, 20 minutes from downtown and about five minutes from conveniences on Regent Avenue. It’s also a welcome project in that it will be crucial in growing the tax base. Projects like this, which allow for transition and renewal, not only provide affordable new housing, but allows (the city) to add new owners to tax rolls rather than increasing taxes."
Construction on The Gateway has already started at 568 Transcona Blvd., between Peguis Street and Chelston Gate. Daytona Homes’ general manager, Barry Hedgecock, said if everything goes smoothly, homes should be ready for possession before the end of 2016.
"We’re hoping for the end of October or early November, but certainly, buyers should be able to take possession of their homes before the end of the year," he said.
For more information on the project, visit daytonahomes.ca.
Recently, the Free Press ran a clever editorial cartoon depicting a home floating over the horizon attached to a balloon. Without having to say so, this cartoon represented the concern for housing prices currently taking place in Vancouver and Toronto.
There should be concern. The rapidly increasing home prices in those two major urban centres are quite astounding. According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, for the month of April, home prices were up more than 25 per cent year over year in Vancouver and more than 12 per cent in Toronto. Starter homes are increasing at an even greater pace.
Some are blaming this situation on foreign investment and are calling on the federal government to limit this influx. Others are calling for economic action. However, and quite rightly so, the federal government is not taking any knee-jerk actions.
As you may recall, the previous Conservative government reduced amortization periods from 40 years to 25 years. Recently, Finance Minister Bill Morneau has increased the minimum down payment for homes priced above $500,000, requiring a 10 per cent down payment for the portion over that figure. Neither action seems to have cooled these two markets.
Some have suggested a capital gains tax or a tax on flipping houses in an effort to target foreign investors. In Australia, foreign investors can only purchase new developments and not existing homes.
Many see these measures as too restrictive as Canada has always encouraged foreign investment. However, the recent budget designated $500,000 for Statistics Canada to develop methods for gathering data on purchases of Canadian housing by foreign homebuyers.
New permanent residents don’t appear to be the problem as these numbers have been consistent for the past six years. However, the number of non-permanent residents has been all over the board, particularly with respect to students and work permit-holders.
When there is a shortage of existing housing, prices go up. It’s a simple supply-and-demand issue. Some economists have offered the federal government would be better served by encouraging the construction of new homes in an effort to maintain ample inventory. There have been 30 per cent fewer residential building permits approved in Toronto and Vancouver in the past year and prices have skyrocketed, severely hindering the prospective first-time homebuyer, the most price sensitive of buyers on the market.
Although the problem appears to be centred in these two municipalities, the concern is national. Federal and provincial governments seldom make policies for two cities. If they try to manage the problem through legislation, the impact on every other Canadian city could be extremely negative. We are a vast country with many different economic and social cultures.
A one-size-fits-all solution may just cause more problems.
Mike Moore is the president of the Manitoba Home Builders’ Association.