It is a fact that the majority of new home buyers in our region are from the Greater Toronto Area. Whether they are Boomers planning to retire here or young families looking for a weekend retreat amid our many recreational amenities, they are coming in droves for a laid-back lifestyle "far from the madding crowd" (without being too far), replete with fresh air and limitless diversions.
Over the years, some of our local real estate developers have experienced a roller coaster ride, trying to lure buyers by offering the right product at the right price point. Fortunately, the local development industry has survived and thrived, meeting the demands of the GTA's varied buyer demographics. Today, the region's developments offer a variety of new home options, ranging from 1,200-square-foot bungalow townhomes to luxurious 2,500-plus-square-foot single family homes.
On The Bay interviewed several local developers to get their insights into the current new home market in Southern Georgian Bay and learn about their new home offerings.
The Shipyards development in Collingwood, approved many years ago, is a purposefully-designed high-density development that has succeeded in appealing to buyers looking for maintenance-free living within walking distance to downtown shops, restaurants and amenities.
"Our goal has always been to create a sense of community here," says director of sales Tara Parsons. "We appeal to the 50-plus market from outside Collingwood and the GTA - people who have owned many homes, done renos and want what they want. They are looking for quality, upscale finishes as standard, and efficient design with flexible space to accommodate their lifestyles."
With 135 units currently occupied, The Shipyards will be launching 16 new bungalow towns this summer, which will feature brick and stone construction and 1,600 square feet of main floor space including a large great room, master bedroom and two bathrooms. Private double garages will be conveniently accessible from lanes in the rear of the buildings. The developer plans to offer the new towns for sale after breaking ground and beginning work on servicing and roads this summer. A model home will be available for viewing as soon as possible.
Elsewhere in Collingwood, other developers are building communities with higher densities and a mixed offering of home styles. Appealing primarily to downsizing retirees and "ski families" from the GTA, MacPherson Builders' Blue Fairways development offers a collection of 83 townhomes ranging from 1,217 to 1,473 square feet. All of the developer's bungalow towns are sold out, with 50 per cent of its two-storey towns still available for purchase.
MacPherson's second development, Windrose Estates, is made up exclusively of large single-family homes on one- to two-acre lots. At press time, only 32 lots remained. Both developments are offering generous standard features and purchase incentives such as upgrade allowances, appliance/furniture vouchers and landscape packages.
The company's interior designer, Michelle Pasquale, says developers in Southern Georgian Bay are reaping the benefits of a seller's market, primarily due to lack of inventory in the resale home market, the increased energy efficiency of new construction, and the convenience of choosing desirable home features. "I see increased demand in the future for the four-season lifestyle our developments have to offer," says Pasquale. "They suit our target buyers perfectly - from young families looking for adventure to retired empty-nesters to professional couples desiring privacy, space and luxury." As to the future of single-family homes, Pasquale predicts that demand will continue to be strong in the region.