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Thread: Dear Edmonton - Townhouses and TH podiums please

  1. #101

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    You're talking about a subset of a subset of the population. Less than 10% of Edmonton households can afford the mortgage on a $750K property & of those only a few would be willing to trade all the inherent advantages of SFH for Edmonton's urban intangibles (*snicker*).

    I mean, I'm in that 10% and what you're describing is a truly terrible value proposition & it's no wonder that developers haven't been climbing over themselves to fill the niche of a niche which is upscale, high-end townhomes.
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  2. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanO View Post
    Or to approach this in our context where townhouses are available now at 500-700k.
    650k - 1000k in Vancouver needs to translate to about 300k - 450k here. 500k in Edmonton gives a buyer a lot more options than 650k in Vancouver.

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    You won't get an urban townhouse for 300-450 unless it is quite small, wood and not centrally. Product should compare with single family houses, ie. 450-650.
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  4. #104

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    Quote Originally Posted by IanO View Post
    You won't get an urban townhouse for 300-450 unless it is quite small, wood and not centrally. Product should compare with single family houses, ie. 450-650.
    I'm not sure why that is though, you can get a pretty interesting designed one in Calgary (where land costs are generally about 50k to 100k higher than Edmonton), in an urban mature neighbourhood (Bowness) minutes from downtown for that money. They should this team involved in Blatchford, it will sell like hotcakes if its priced at 350k or below:

    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/real...ticle37109995/

    The Sprungs received approximately $14,500 from Attainable, which, combined with their $2,000 input, gave them a 5-per-cent down payment on a $328,000 property. The home belongs to them and nobody else. They handle their own mortgage and will pay nothing to Attainable until they sell the place; if they do so at least three years after buying, they'll be required to return only 25 per cent of the appreciated value. Buyers who sell earlier will have to remit a larger amount of money. Attainable doesn't recover its outlays on every deal, but a growing market keeps it in the black.

    In addition to providing loans, the company sometimes plans the communities in which its clients live. For Arrive at Bowness, Attainable worked with Partners Development Group, which specializes in affordable homes. They constructed 50 two- and three-bedroom townhouses, of which 39 were sold below market rate, at prices ranging between $319,000 and $345,000. Sales on the remaining 11 units helped offset costs.

    ...

    At Bowness, the houses are arranged in two nested L-forms, which bracket a public park. The hinges of the Ls are open, creating an easy path from the exterior homes to the interior green space. The development is a buffer between industrial and residential zones. To the northwest, just past the park, you'll find bungalows with vinyl siding. To the east lies a Canadian Pacific Railway line and the sprawling Sunnyside Greenhouse, which draws thousands of visitors on weekends.

    The homes fit nicely within these surroundings. Each is a simple gable with a stucco base and, on the second and third levels, corrugated aluminum siding, a cheap, low-maintenance material that complements the nearby conservatory. To break up the fašades, the architect set recesses with coloured stucco – rusty orange, maroon and red – that matches the Canadian National Railway cars. Instead of your standard-issue residential downspout, with its rounded edges and curves, Mr. Hindle picked square, angular pipes, which fit with the industrial tone. Such accents give the project cohesiveness while adding virtually nothing to the cost.


    Last edited by moahunter; 10-01-2018 at 01:38 PM.

  5. #105

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    Quote Originally Posted by IanO View Post
    You won't get an urban townhouse for 300-450 unless it is quite small, wood and not centrally. Product should compare with single family houses, ie. 450-650.
    If it's gonna compare to SFH it has to on more than just price, which is where townhouses fall flat & why townhouses/duplexes are split out from apartments & SFH when they're talking about sales figures, prices, markets et cetera. Just because you say they're equivalent & should be compared based solely using your own criteria makes less than zero difference to the way the world actually is.

    Even if we're to accept your idea that we should compare townhouses to single-family homes, the average house is $450K, so that should be the middle of your range, not the bottom.

    Or is the "urban townhouse" scheme supposed to run completely counter to your "families need affordable housing in the core" schtick? Or is "affordable" supposed to mean "only the top 10%" in whatever Bizarro World you're living in?
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  6. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanO View Post
    You cannot compare that to 'the avg' though. It isfor people who are considering houses in Garneau or Windsor Park or other moreurban places where houses are often in the 500-1mil+ range. A townhouse withlittle maintenance, closer to the core, etc. is very appealing to folksconsidering those.
    IanO, you're still making apples to oranges comparisons.... that townhouse product in ubc is $1,000 psf for older product and higher than that for new and you need to take a close look at the title because many of them are underlying leasehold, not freehold, titles.


    having said that, the product is a reasonable option in a market whereas of last year there wasn't a single single family home assessed at under $1,000,000. which means that the minimum price of any 33' lot in that market is $1,000,000 (because the original homes on those lots at that price are unliveable -even the real estate ads say "inspections not available").

    you cannot make the comparison you're making without comparing market differentials as well as market prices because within markets the market will maintain those differentials. your garneau or windsor park comparable neighborhoods in vancouver would be kitsilano or mackenzie heights or dunbar. in those neighborhoods, this is a pretty typical “entry level” listing:

    Price: $2,388,000
    Year Built: 1953
    Type: ResidentialDetached
    Sub Type: House/Single Family
    Style: Rancher/Bungaloww/Bsmt.
    Levels: 2
    Main Floor: 850 sqft
    Total Size: 1,650 sqft
    Bedrooms: 2
    Full Baths: 1
    Half Baths: 0
    Fireplaces: 1
    Basement: Unfinished
    MLS« #: R2229958
    Address: 3123 W 16th Avenue
    Taxes: $5,401/year
    Lot Area: 4,026
    Frontage: 33feet
    Depth: 122 feet

    so those townhomes start at give or take 50% of the price of the cheapest comparable home in a comparable neighborhood in vancouver. you can buy a similar home to this one in garneau or windsor park for give or take $500,000. you can use that to work out the comparable price here in order to create and maintain demand and absorption for the product and what that product will look like.

    don't get me wrong, i love the product you're showcasing and have for years but that segment of the market has to go through the same thing our office market had to go through. until the market is prepared to pay the price, you won't see much of that product being delivered.
    Last edited by kcantor; 10-01-2018 at 02:05 PM.
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  7. #107

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    Well said Ken!
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  8. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by IanO View Post
    You won't get an urban townhouse for 300-450 unless it is quite small, wood and not centrally. Product should compare with single family houses, ie. 450-650.
    I'm not sure why that is though, you can get a pretty interesting designed one in Calgary (where land costs are generally about 50k to 100k higher than Edmonton), in an urban mature neighbourhood (Bowness) minutes from downtown for that money. They should this team involved in Blatchford, it will sell like hotcakes if its priced at 350k or below:

    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/real...ticle37109995/

    The Sprungs received approximately $14,500 from Attainable, which, combined with their $2,000 input, gave them a 5-per-cent down payment on a $328,000 property. The home belongs to them and nobody else. They handle their own mortgage and will pay nothing to Attainable until they sell the place; if they do so at least three years after buying, they'll be required to return only 25 per cent of the appreciated value. Buyers who sell earlier will have to remit a larger amount of money. Attainable doesn't recover its outlays on every deal, but a growing market keeps it in the black.

    In addition to providing loans, the company sometimes plans the communities in which its clients live. For Arrive at Bowness, Attainable worked with Partners Development Group, which specializes in affordable homes. They constructed 50 two- and three-bedroom townhouses, of which 39 were sold below market rate, at prices ranging between $319,000 and $345,000. Sales on the remaining 11 units helped offset costs.

    ...
    emphasis added...

    this looks like decent product and i find the sales model intriguing. but that sales model $328,000 is not directly comparable to the pricing under discussion here.

    firstly, while the purchaser is getting title, it's not unencumbered. the vendor is entitled to a minimum of 25% of any escalation in market pricing after a period of three years in perpetuity and more than that if it is resold within three years. you need to net present value that back and add to the initial price to determine the real cost of the home.

    secondly, it refers to the developer as the lender so presumably they are providing the first mortgage monies to enable the purchase (something that may be required as a lender would need to take the first point into account before underwriting a mortgage and we all know how entrepreneurial banks are). any added cost/spread for the developer in the loan terms over market rates would also need to be net present valued and added to the initial price to determine the real cost of the home.
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  9. #109

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    Can you not zone or enact by-laws that dictate the frontages and street-level interaction of greenfield and infill, which in turn would dictate product? Maybe not to a level of sophistication shown, yet, but you can classify most mature neighbourhoods that are multifamily to enable townhomes, or promote re-zoning of residential components to have townhome characteristics...
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  10. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by GenWhy? View Post
    Can you not zone or enact by-laws that dictate the frontages and street-level interaction of greenfield and infill, which in turn would dictate product? Maybe not to a level of sophistication shown, yet, but you can classify most mature neighbourhoods that are multifamily to enable townhomes, or promote re-zoning of residential components to have townhome characteristics...
    sort of...

    the problem is that while you can try and dictate what product can be built, you can't dictate that that product will actually be built.

    what too often happens is that instead of dictating what can be built, which is the initial best of intention, you run the risk of ending up with nothing being built. station pointe is a good example of that. so are most of the direct control zones that were enacted downtown over the past 3 or 4 decades. or you end up creating a market and seeing product that is quite different than what was intended and that has much different effects on a neighborhood than what was intended.
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  11. #111

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    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by IanO View Post
    You won't get an urban townhouse for 300-450 unless it is quite small, wood and not centrally. Product should compare with single family houses, ie. 450-650.
    I'm not sure why that is though, you can get a pretty interesting designed one in Calgary (where land costs are generally about 50k to 100k higher than Edmonton), in an urban mature neighbourhood (Bowness) minutes from downtown for that money. They should this team involved in Blatchford, it will sell like hotcakes if its priced at 350k or below:

    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/real...ticle37109995/

    The Sprungs received approximately $14,500 from Attainable, which, combined with their $2,000 input, gave them a 5-per-cent down payment on a $328,000 property. The home belongs to them and nobody else. They handle their own mortgage and will pay nothing to Attainable until they sell the place; if they do so at least three years after buying, they'll be required to return only 25 per cent of the appreciated value. Buyers who sell earlier will have to remit a larger amount of money. Attainable doesn't recover its outlays on every deal, but a growing market keeps it in the black.

    In addition to providing loans, the company sometimes plans the communities in which its clients live. For Arrive at Bowness, Attainable worked with Partners Development Group, which specializes in affordable homes. They constructed 50 two- and three-bedroom townhouses, of which 39 were sold below market rate, at prices ranging between $319,000 and $345,000. Sales on the remaining 11 units helped offset costs.

    ...
    emphasis added...

    this looks like decent product and i find the sales model intriguing. but that sales model $328,000 is not directly comparable to the pricing under discussion here.

    firstly, while the purchaser is getting title, it's not unencumbered. the vendor is entitled to a minimum of 25% of any escalation in market pricing after a period of three years in perpetuity and more than that if it is resold within three years. you need to net present value that back and add to the initial price to determine the real cost of the home.

    secondly, it refers to the developer as the lender so presumably they are providing the first mortgage monies to enable the purchase (something that may be required as a lender would need to take the first point into account before underwriting a mortgage and we all know how entrepreneurial banks are). any added cost/spread for the developer in the loan terms over market rates would also need to be net present valued and added to the initial price to determine the real cost of the home.
    True - I think the non-subsidized units sell a bit more, but not excessively so - around the 420k mark (1,500sq foot 3 bedroom) - not the 500k-700k IanO suggested. I'd be fine buying a townhome in Bowness or some of those neighborhoods at that sort of price, and I'd be fine with that at Blatchford as well. Its a really nice model they have - you can see lots of communities they have built product in, that is partly affordable / partly market (but not expensive).

    http://arrivehome.ca/communities/bowness/floorplans/

    http://arrivehome.ca/about/past-communities/


    And I agree the price should work backwards from a single family home in the neighborhood. A 500k to 700k townhome "might" work in Glenora, but even its a stretch. There should be product in the low 400's high 300's in other inner city locations in Edmonton. This Bowness one would have been a nice product at that Fort Road location, for example.
    Last edited by moahunter; 10-01-2018 at 02:46 PM.

  12. #112

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    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by GenWhy? View Post
    Can you not zone or enact by-laws that dictate the frontages and street-level interaction of greenfield and infill, which in turn would dictate product? Maybe not to a level of sophistication shown, yet, but you can classify most mature neighbourhoods that are multifamily to enable townhomes, or promote re-zoning of residential components to have townhome characteristics...
    sort of...

    the problem is that while you can try and dictate what product can be built, you can't dictate that that product will actually be built.

    what too often happens is that instead of dictating what can be built, which is the initial best of intention, you run the risk of ending up with nothing being built. station pointe is a good example of that. so are most of the direct control zones that were enacted downtown over the past 3 or 4 decades. or you end up creating a market and seeing product that is quite different than what was intended and that has much different effects on a neighborhood than what was intended.
    Agree, and that's the true gamble of City Building, within that language of being both precise and vague to allow flexibility and to orchestrate directive. The gamble of City Building - as in the context of the whole city - of achieving certain directives and avoiding certain "feedback" or unwanted responses in development forms.
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  13. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor
    don't get me wrong, i love the product you're showcasing and have for years but that segment of the market has to go through the same thing our office market had to go through. until the market is prepared to pay the price, you won't see much of that product being delivered.


    Basically this. There's very little high quality, central product in Edmonton that sits between a one or two bedroom condo, and single family. But given the cost to build it and the selling price, not to mention the easy commute to bedroom communities, there's just not a big market for it unfortunately. While I might think that a nice 1,500ft townhouse in Oliver or Garneau is worth paying 600-800k for, the vast majority of Edmonton's buying public doesn't. Hence why I think that Blatchford is basically going to be DOA when they start trying to sell product.
    Last edited by Marcel Petrin; 10-01-2018 at 02:53 PM.

  14. #114

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    Right now zoning prohibits townhomes in the vast majority of the city. Allowing lot splitting and skinny homes is only the first step toward a rational zoning that's agnostic to whether homes are detached or attached.

    There really should be no minimum lot width, and it should be easy to get approval for zero side setbacks (2-hour fire wall and adjacent property owner approval? Done) Parking requirements don't help, even though parking would still be built in the vast majority of cases.

    I suspect that you would see little change in land value with a change like that, only a portion of infill would be built with that $450k land cost split 3 ways rather than 2.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor
    don't get me wrong, i love the product you're showcasing and have for years but that segment of the market has to go through the same thing our office market had to go through. until the market is prepared to pay the price, you won't see much of that product being delivered.


    Basically this. There's very little high quality, central product in Edmonton that sits between a one or two bedroom condo, and single family. But given the cost to build it and the selling price, not to mention the easy commute to bedroom communities, there's just not a big market for it unfortunately. While I might think that a nice 1,500ft townhouse in Oliver or Garneau is worth paying 600-800k for, the vast majority of Edmonton's buying public doesn't. Hence why I think that Blatchford is basically going to be DOA when they start trying to sell product.
    How much of market needs to exist though?
    Realistically, if let's say 20 units a year came online in the actual Downtown/Oliver, 200 units of Townhouses over the next ten years, it would be a good thing for the diversification of housing stock and a noticeable difference.
    I really don't have a finger on the pulse of the market, but in those two areas, there aren't 20 new buyers a year for the whole Edmonton region?
    How did the units at Symphony sell or the rentals at Hendrix. Those are about the only two examples I can think of.

  16. #116

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    Heck, it took months & months for The Five in Oliver to sell out & they were pretty decent units.

    Oh, looks like there's still one up for sale.

    https://www.realtor.ca/Residential/S...-T5K2A5-Oliver
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  17. #117

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    ^Built in 2014 and brand new And it does look nice, and Oliver is a great location.

    I think you built a bunch of 375k to 425k townhomes on that Camsel site though, or a location like that in a neighborhood a little less ideal than Oliver, it would sell really well. $500 is out of reach for a lot of people, and if they are going that high, they want a single family home.
    Last edited by moahunter; 10-01-2018 at 03:11 PM.

  18. #118

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    Yep. Checks all the boxes that people say the market is clamoring for, including their suggested price point yet it languishes unbought & unoccupied since construction.
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    Quote Originally Posted by noodle View Post
    Heck, it took months & months for The Five in Oliver to sell out & they were pretty decent units.

    Oh, looks like there's still one up for sale.

    https://www.realtor.ca/Residential/S...-T5K2A5-Oliver
    Thanks, wasn't aware of that development. That's roughly what I had in mind. And yeah, the fact that it's still unsold is a good indication that there just isn't much of a market for that kind of product. Row/townhousing and sport wagons, the public just doesn't know what they're missing!

  20. #120
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanC
    How did the units at Symphony sell or the rentals at Hendrix. Those are about the only two examples I can think of.


    Not sure about at Hendrix, but a couple years ago when Symphony was just getting going construction wise, they'd sold 80% of the suites in the building but basically none of the townhouses. Those townhouses were pretty big, though, with some close to 2,000ft I believe. But they were also extremely pricey, if memory serves most of them were in or around the million dollar mark. And frankly, that is a horrible location for at-grade living given it's proximity to 97th avenue, at the bottom of 106 street, etc etc. Never been a fan of that location. But in any case, from what I saw, the townhouses were pretty much the last to sell there.

  21. #121

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    Is it unsold? I can't tell if it's the developer selling or an investor who for whatever reason left it vacant.
    There can only be one.

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    I would say it would be helpful if they reduced the 4.5m required setback when putting homes on a corner lot that faces the abutting road. Corner lots would be great for townhomes. One could put 3 townhomes up on them but the 15foot set back off the side lot line makes it hard to fit anything in on a 45-55' wide (deep in the this case) lot.

    https://www.google.ca/maps/@53.49819...7i13312!8i6656
    Good example, if not trendy and modern. But it's a 60'+ wide lot, so accommodating the 15' setback isn't as hard as doing the same on a 50' wide lot.

    They somehow managed to throw that setback out the window on this one:
    https://www.google.ca/maps/@53.51930...7i13312!8i6656
    Which is absolutely hideous BTW, but this does fit 4 townhomes on one 42' wide lot.

    Those are both RF3 lots.

    Getting a brand new semi detached for 450K is pretty standard in places like Bonnie Doon, Forest Heights, etc Maybe that's not urban-y enough.

  23. #123

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    It's listed with the same real estate agent that it was listed with back in July when I went to look at it & the June Street View image of the outside still has the sign featuring the same heavily-processed wide-angle shots that are used on the listing. Dunno if he's been pushing it longer than that or if this is round 1 or round 2 for sales.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DanC
    How did the units at Symphony sell or the rentals at Hendrix. Those are about the only two examples I can think of.


    Not sure about at Hendrix, but a couple years ago when Symphony was just getting going construction wise, they'd sold 80% of the suites in the building but basically none of the townhouses. Those townhouses were pretty big, though, with some close to 2,000ft I believe. But they were also extremely pricey, if memory serves most of them were in or around the million dollar mark. And frankly, that is a horrible location for at-grade living given it's proximity to 97th avenue, at the bottom of 106 street, etc etc. Never been a fan of that location. But in any case, from what I saw, the townhouses were pretty much the last to sell there.
    That's kind of what I figured.
    We know a couple with a toddler that live in a 3 story townhouse in Oliver and really enjoy it. They are very committed to the community and urban lifestyle however.
    I guess, I would expect that there are 20 of those couples every year out there, but knowing only one personally, I might be tricking myself and that market really just isn't there.

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