April 01, 2016 | Lindsay Holden
A bit of everythingBearspaw, Springbank appealing to a more diverse sect of buyers
Long admired for its opulence, the communities of Bearspaw and Springbank just outside of Calgary's northwest border are now attracting a wider range of buyers who are looking for a bit of everything, say industry professionals.
"Years ago, the area was big into horse culture – everyone wanted to buy a pony for their teenaged daughter. Now, it is more about organized sports, family vacations," said Jeff Neustaedter, a real estate professional whose office last year saw 35 transactions above the $1.1-million mark in Bearspaw alone, ranging from 40-hectare sites to secluded parcels.
While the area between Calgary and Cochrane has always been known for its stately homes, McKinley Masters Custom Homes owner Mark Kwasnicki noted homeowners want more these days – they want space to stretch their legs, but also to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
"You can calm out. There's no noise, no traffic, and you're close to nature," said Kwasnicki, who built his first home in Bearspaw in 1991.
And while the country address, relaxed pace and potential for bigger square footages in homes will always hold some cache, residents still need to keep up with a family pace. To that end, Kwasnicki notes shopping is less than a 10-minute drive away in Rocky Ridge, and downtown is a 30-minute commute. The Red Line LRT also now extends to nearby Tuscany in Calgary's northwest.
"The overwhelming majority of the community are young families with children."
Kwasnicki, who also lives in the community, said he's witnessed a younger group of buyers set down roots in the community recently compared to previous years when it was a more mature group who had hit peak earnings in their careers.
That's certainly been the case at Watermark at Bearspaw, said Ian Macdonald, director of sales and marketing for Macdonald Development Corp., which is developing the upscale project that will have 469 detached and 101 attached homes upon completion.
While Watermark still sees mature buyers in its villa portion of the project, it is seeing more young families and working professionals, he said.
"The overwhelming majority of the community are young families with children," said Macdonald.
New West Luxury Estate Homes area sales manager Brett Papillon, whose company is active in the Watermark at Bearspaw area, noted another benefit to building in the area is flexibility.
"There's an endless possibility to design the house you want to live in," he said of fully custom homes on lots that are 84 feet wide compared to a top-end city lot measuring 55 feet.
Land area at Watermark is about one-third larger than city lots for the same price. The extra space means homebuyers are investing in larger or more elaborate home designs, starting at about $1.2 million including home, lot and GST said Papillon.
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