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VOLUME 10 ISSUE 99 n MarCH 2014


12 CoVer FeAture


Legacy for a lifetime WestCreek’s Legacy will leave a lasting impression on families



The road ahead (Part I) Growth is forecast in 2014, but daunting challenges loom

Special Feature PUBLIcaTIONS aGrEEMENT NO. 41072011. rETUrN UNDELIVEraBLE caNaDIaN aDDrESSES TO: Source Media Group corp. 207 - 5809 Macleod Trail S.W., calgary, alberta T2h 0J9

Check out what’s happening in communities east of Calgary Included in this issue of New Home Living

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18 23

42 fOCuS ON


Shower scene

Bath curtains dress up your tub SHOW HOME prOfILES


A healing home

Cedarglen Homes partners with Wellspring Calgary for outreach home in Auburn Bay

23 The cutting edge


Riverview’s Toronto Crescent show home is beyond cool COMMuNIty prOfILE


The best of both worlds

Nolan Hill’s picturesque backdrop redefines coming home LIfEStyLE



Sweet ensuite

Finding the look for your most private sanctuary SHOppING

Lucky charms

Living the dream in Stampede Lottery Home



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46 Soak it in

Hot tubs make for the perfect stay-cation


51 58

Around Town Hope at Large ItEMS

8 52 56

Editor’s Message Maps Advertiser Index

editor’s message


March on The third issue of the year is when we usually assess where the market is going; spring gives us the chance to recover from the winter doldrums and give us a better read on where Calgary’s housing market is headed. In the first part of my two-part “Road Ahead” news feature, we talk about the good news — how 2014, by all accounts, is shaping up as a breakthrough year that recall the boom times of the mid-2000s. But there may be trouble ahead, and you can tune in to that when we continue the feature next month. Adding to the good news column is the recent enactment of the New Home Warranty Act, which has been legislated and took effect on February 1, giving the province some of the strongest measures to protect new home buyers. And by the way, did you know Calgary was picked as one of the New York Times’ best places to visit in the world (number 17 of 52) in 2014? We knew that already, but this really sets up the kind of breakout year we’re expected to have. Our cover feature on the new community of Legacy in the south confirms the tremendous growth that Calgary is enjoying in the new home front, and this new community in the deep south by has grown by leaps and bounds and is well on its way to becoming the forever community it was envisioned to be. We also feature Cedarglen’s new show home that was converted into Wellspring Calgary’s temporary home in the south. It was a very welcome donation on Cedarglen’s part, which serves to spread the word about Calgary’s only cancer support program that helps everyone affected by the killer disease. This issue also wows readers with Riverview Custom Homes’s one-of-a-kind show home in the community of St. Andrews Heights, and it sits on a truly remarkable piece of land on Toronto Crescent that’s quickly becoming the new millionaire’s row. I would also like to welcome on board David Crosson, the owner of Barbarian Designs, who will be our regular design contributor, his inaugural feature on bathrooms is just the kind of conversational tone in explaining design creativity, which I’m sure readers will enjoy and learn from. We also have Kathy McCormick’s story on the growing popularity of hot tubs in Calgary, which gives us at least warmer thoughts for spring. New home construction starts are expected to hit a high in 2014, which bodes well for the buyers, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges ahead. But you can be sure that it’s something New Home Living will be keeping an eye on in the year ahead.

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Source Media Group

a S S O C I at E p u b L I S H E r |

Jim Zang EdItOr |

Pepper rodriguez art dIrECtOr |

Jean Faye rodriguez GrapHIC dESIGNErS

Lama azhari

Dave Macaulay

Megan Sereda p r O d u C t I O N a d M I N I S t r at O r |

colleen Leier EdItOrIaL

David crosson, Karen Durrie, aaliya Essa, Marty hope, Kathy Mccormick pHOtOGrapHy

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©Source Media Group Corp. Material cannot be reprinted in whole or in part without the expressed written permission of the publishers. Source Media Group Corp. agrees to advertise on behalf of the advertiser without responsibility for claims or misinformation made by the advertiser and acts only as an advertising medium. Source Media Group reserves the right to refuse any advertising at its sole discretion. New Home Living® is published 12 times per annum and is available free through select distribution points in Calgary and area. New Home Living® accepts editorial submissions by electronic mail only. Please forward any submissions including all personal information to Unsolicited submissions will not be returned. Advertising information available only by request. New Home Living® is a registered Trademark the propperty of SOURCE MEDIA GROUP CORP. Reg. CIPO TMA 693289. Source Media Group, 207, 5809 Macleod Trail S.W., Calgary, AB T2H 0J9. T: 403.532.3101, F: 403.532.3109, TF: 1.888.932.3101 E:


Who made it to the sAm finalist list?



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focus on







Bath curtains dress up your tub

THE MAIN PURPOSE for a shower curtain is to keep water from spraying out onto the floor, but, they are also able to transform the look of your bathroom simply, and affordably. With whimsical designs and colourful fabrics, you can change your bathroom from drab to fab in a flash. Who says functional can’t be fashionable? NL


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focus on

Aaliya Essa Don Molyneaux

PHotos By

1] Paisley river Birch, $29.99 at target.

5] liV, $19.99 at Jysk.

2] Jade, $24.99 at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

6] rio red Waffle, $39.99 at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

3] green grid, $24.99 at target.

7] Cool ikat print, $24.99 at target.

4] Barque, $14.99 at Jysk.

8] Passport, $49.99 at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

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| Advertising cover Feature |

Legacy for a lifetime


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| Advertising cover Feature |

WestCreek’s Legacy will leave a lasting impression on families


home for every stage of life, that’s the promise of Legacy. The comprehensive range of homes they offer — from a bachelor’s pad, to stylish family-oriented estate homes, to a snowbird’s lock-and-leave nest — Legacy is a community you can certainly set roots in and never have to leave. Buyers are certainly noticing this newest southeast community’s charms, and they have kept Legacy’s eight-member builder group busy for the past seven months since sales started. In fact, it has been so busy that a full two-thirds of the community’s first phase is already spoken for. “Sales have exceeded our highest expectations,” says Jared Goldade, the development manager of WestCreek Developments. “People are seeing the value of living in the community.” Unlike most new communities that are undergoing development, WestCreek chose to prioritize building their amenity areas to give buyers a better idea of the kind of lifestyle that awaits them in Legacy. “We wanted to establish the feel of the community. So it was important for us to have the parks, entrance features and landscaping done so that people can already visualize the community they will be living in. We wanted to make buyers proud of the community, so we put all that work on developing these features up front,” Goldade tells New Home Living. The appealing entrance feature calls to mind ancient Roman ruins, as well as a clock tower that captures the timeless quality of the land are already in place, as are most of its parks and pathways. The more than 1,000-acre community located just off Macleod Trail and 210 Avenue

S.E. is blessed to have one of the most interesting topographies in the city. It sits on an escarpment at least 150-feet above the Bow River, and has Pine Creek running by it. Legacy’s connection to nature is underscored by a 300-acres natural environment reserve at its very heart. “We will have 15 kilometres of pathways running through Legacy, these are dedicated walkways that run through the green space and not sidewalks,” Goldade points out. “This just emphasizes our commitment to get our residents to fully enjoy Legacy’s strong connection to nature.” Legacy will have about 6,500 homes on build out, and will include attached homes, single-family from estate homes to townhomes. Goldade says a strong builder group has allowed Legacy to become the success it is. “We’ve assembled the best-known builders in town, and this has also been key in our success,” Goldade says.


The appealing entrance feature that calls to mind ancient Roman ruins, as well as a clock tower that captures the timeless quality of the land are already in place, as are most of its parks and pathways. march 2014 NE W HOME LIVING

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| Advertising cover Feature |

“We will have 15 kilometres of pathways running through Legacy, these are dedicated walkways that run through the green space and not sidewalks.”

Legacy groups their products in four home series: Foundation has semi-attached homes; Cornerstone is for starters; Keystone is for move-ups, and Capstone is for estate homes. Foundation has homes from the low $300,000s from Trico Homes and Creations by Shane Homes. Cornerstone offers starters from the $300,000s from Creations by Shane Homes, Lifestyle Homes, Stepper Custom Homes, and Excel Homes. Keystone has move-ups starting from the $400,000s from Lifestyle Homes, Stepper Custom Homes and Sterling Homes. And the Capstone estates start from the $600,000s from Albi Homes, Morrison Homes and Trico Homes. Townhomes and bare land condos are being introduced in Phase Two, and are from Innovations by Jayman and Homes by Avi, respectively. Goldade says the high level of architectural detailing they have for all the homes also create a lovely street appeal that adds to the community’s idyllic ambience. “No matter what home you live in, Legacy has the same quality look and character that presents a cohesive whole, and this engenders pride-of-ownership among residents,” he adds. With the wide array of homes, Goldade says its easy to just start your home-owning life here in a townhome or semi-attached home, move into a move-up when you have your own family, and into a downsizer home later on in life. “You never have to leave the community,” he adds. It’s also the perfect set-up where older kids with their own families can be in their own home and have their parents live in a downsizer home in the same community. Legacy has four future school sites, and there are plans to start developing a major regional commercial centre next to it — about three-quarters the size of the Shawnessy shopping centre, according to Goldade — which bodes well for this “forever community.” “When you drive into the community, you get a wonderful sense of arrival as you pass the clock tower and the traffic circle. It engenders a

It’s also the perfect setup where older kids with their own families can be in their own home and have their parents live in a downsizer home in the same community.


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pride-of-ownership, you want people to know this is the community where you live,” Goldade says. The vision of Legacy has unfolded over a decade of thoughtful planning. The greatest care was taken with the design; every home, every pathway, every sidewalk and open space has been crafted with family in mind, making Legacy a community that will stand the test of time.  n

FAST FACTS: Community: Legacy Developer: WestCreek Developments Builders: Albi Homes, Excel Homes, Lifestyle Homes, Morrison Homes, Shane Homes, Stepper Custom Homes, Sterling Homes, Trico Homes Price: Semi-detached homes from the low $300,000s, starter homes from the $300,000s, move-up homes from the $400,000s, and estate from the $600,000s Directions: South on Macleod Tr. and left on 210th Ave. and follow the signs Hours: Monday to Thursday 2 to 8 p.m., weekends and holidays noon to 5 p.m.

For more information, visit

show home profile  n

Compassion and caring in a non-hospital environment best describes what Wellspring does for cancer patients and their families.


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n   show home profile

Cedarglen Homes partners with Wellspring Calgary for outreach home in Auburn Bay

A healing home n   Written by

Pepper Rodriguez

Show homes are supposed to display the quality and craftsmanship of a particular builder, but with Cedarglen Homes’ newest show home in Auburn Bay, what we see is their heart. The popular home builder, along with Auburn Bay’s developer, Brookfield Residential, have partnered with Wellspring Calgary to bring a “temporary branch” of this local cancer support centre to the southern communities. The move is expected to raise awareness for Wellspring’s various programs for cancer patients and their families. Wellspring Calgary is the only institution of its kind in western Canada, and they provide a comprehensive range of support, resources and programs to anyone living with cancer and the people who care about them to improve the quality of their lives. Compassion and caring in a non-hospital environment best describes what they do for cancer patients and their families. “Since we started in 2007, we’ve only been located in our headquarters — Carma House — in the north part of town,” says Suzan Valenta, Director of Philanthropy at Wellspring Calgary. “Having Cedarglen donate their show home to us gives us a much better stage to raise awareness in the south part of town and beyond to rural Alberta, and also provide access to patients with travel or mobility issues to try out our programs.” She adds that this is also a perfect gauge for Wellspring to assess how putting a permanent base in this part of town will be received. “The opening of the South Health Campus in Seton provides a good alignment, the same as how Carma House is located near the Tom Baker Cancer Centre.” Valenta says they will be holding Wellspring’s “core pillar offerings” in this new Huxley show home, including tai chi/qigong classes, drumming, and provide information on the scope of all services offered at the Carma House location. But how easily the Huxley was adapted fot this new purpose is part of this story that will surprise most everyone, except the people at Cedarglen. The 2,160-square-foot two-storey, front attached garage, three-bedroom family home is as typical as any suburban home. But the openness of its layout and the judicious use of all available space has made it extremely flexible to suit, it would seem, any need. The open concept main floor is much suited for entertaining, and superbly fits the needs of Wellspring and the tons of foot traffic that are expected to go through the home. Engineered maple hardwood flooring are used for added durability, but it adds a comfortable feeling of home, as well, says Cedarglen design consultant, Sandi Fedorchuk.


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show home profile  n

“I think that’s what people will want in a Wellspring home, a more homey, comfortable surrounding, rather than one that feels like a hospital,” Fedorchuk tells New Home Living. They have achieved just that in the Huxley with their fullheight kitchen cabinets with glass insets, stately granite and quartz countertops in the centre island and kitchen counter, respectively, and corner gas fireplace, all of which combine to give a feeling of warmth and comfort of home. The oversized windows, including double sliding patio doors, bring in tons of natural light to the proceedings. One bedroom upstairs was easily turned into an art studio, another into a counseling room, and the master bedroom with attached ensuite is a great spot for larger meetings that can sit up to 20 people (just imagine how big that would be for just a normal bedroom). The bonus room has Haro vinyl laminate flooring to make it the perfect exercise/yoga room. The vaulted ceilings and bank of windows gives it a bright, cheery air. The home will be auctioned off in June, and the value from the sale will be donated to Wellspring Calgary — making it “a doubly impactful gift!” Valenta says. “Cedarglen Homes has always supported and valued the communities that we help build,” says the Cedarglen President Howard Tse. “Establishing a partnership with Wellspring Calgary in Auburn Bay allows this unique charity to provide information, host special programs and

“Establishing a partnership with Wellspring Calgary in Auburn Bay allows this unique charity to provide information, host special programs and serve as an oasis…” 20 | NE W HOME LIVING

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serve as an oasis where people faced with cancer can come together with others who can positively affect their journey.” He adds that they were amazed at the support they’ve received from their trades and suppliers, who have all donated time and money for the success of the project. The Huxley is Cedarglen’s fourth active show home in Auburn Bay, and going through all of them, it’s easy to imagine that they could also have worked out as a Wellspring House. NL

fast facts builder: Cedarglen Homes Community: Auburn Bay Developer: Brookfield Residential Style: Two-storey move-up home used as temporary Wellspring home size: 2,160 sq. ft. Price: Cedarglen’s Auburn Bay homes start from the $500,000s address: 183 Auburn Springs Blvd. S.E. Directions: South on Deerfoot Tr. exit at Seton Blvd. and left on Auburn Bay Gate and follow the signs Hours: Monday to Thursday 2 to 8 p.m., weekends and holidays noon to 5 p.m. Web: or

Riverview Custom Homes  n  show home profile

The cutting edge Riverview’s Toronto Crescent show home is beyond cool n   Written by

Pepper Rodriguez

Look out, Mount Royal! Watch out, Elbow Park! The next millionaire’s row hot spot in Calgary isn’t in any of those traditional, upscale neighbourhoods, it’s in the little heard of community of St. Andrews Heights. Want proof? How about this stunning, $4 million, cutting-edge-in-every-way show home by Riverview Custom Homes? This newly-built, West Coast-inspired home in the northwest not only looks stylish and sleek with its glass and limestone exterior, but it isn’t even the most expensive home along the new millionaires’ row street of Toronto Crescent N.W. The enviable million-dollar views afforded along the south-facing escarpment are the defining feature of the neighbourhood, and it sets the stage for an impressive array of the most contemporary homes in the city. But even in this distinguished company, Riverview’s custom designed home is a showstopper. “There are limited ridge lots left in Calgary that are suitable for development. This makes our showpiece home all the more desirable,” says Riverview Custom Homes’ owner, Christopher York. “We made full use of this unique location and designed a home where you can enjoy spectacular views from every floor.”


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show home profile  n

The 5,386-square-foot home on 2540 Toronto Crescent is so spectacular that it is currently nominated as a finalist in the 2013 National SAM Awards — the only single-family home from Calgary in the 4,000-square-foot and greater category to make it to that celebrated list. This four-level, five-bedroom home with five-and-a-half bathrooms and detached triple-car garage has some of the slickest features around, including extensive automation for everything from the thermostat, to audio, to the window coverings. There are hidden surprises everywhere, including pop-up ventilation for the cooktop on the centre island and a rising TV stand in the bonus room upstairs for ingenious, seamless creativity. “There’s an interesting feature in every room of the home,” York tells New Home Living. The interior design by Paul LaVoie relies heavily on a monochromatic tone that conveys universality of its look. In other words, it may be a unique, custom designed home, but its features will appeal to everyone. “There is a great sense of consistency throughout the home which is paired nicely with the unique features from floor to floor,” York adds. Throughout the home is the theme of bringing the outdoors inside, of connecting every aspect of the home. For example the cedar soffits with black steel strips and steel fascia continue from the exterior to become the ceiling. The baseboards and casings are flush with


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show home profile

“There’s an interesting feature in every room of the home.” the wall, and the baseboard transitions continuously flow around the doors to continue this central theme of connectivity. “This involved a lot of painstaking attention to detail, but I think it all paid off,” York says. Key to this design is the central spine wall, which extends from the front to the back of the house and from the basement to the loft. “It contains 2,200 square-feet of zebrano paneling with black reveal strips for that consistency in appearance of the interiors,” York explains. An exemplary, stylishly modern staircase also connects all four levels of the home. It’s made out of riff cut white oak with an arched center stringer that has been glazed black. The treads are two-inchthick solid riff cut oak and stained a medium grey. The handrail is 12-millimetre-thick glass with chrome stand-offs and chrome railing, with LED floor lights following the spine wall on the main and second floors. The open-to-above stairwell itself is entirely of glass and steel, which adds to the stunning curb appeal of the exterior and furthers the enormous amount of natural light brought to the interior. The kitchen and bathrooms — what are usually the focal points of design in any home — are as lavish as any you will see in any glossy home magazine spread. The custom kitchen comes with stained zebrano gables and high gloss lacquer door fronts. Cabinet doors are servo drive (touch electronic), and highend Miele appliances are integrated to match the cabinetry. But even with its top-of-the-line contemporary features, the home never strays far away from its functional aspects as a family home. “This is a great home for couples or families who love to entertain. The open concept kitchen area provides an ample amount of mingle room, while the sitting and lounge rooms provide a nice escape,” York says. He credits LaVoie and architect Matt Klinkenborg in helping bring this extraordinary vision to life. Riverview Custom Homes is one of Calgary’s best builders to bring about a revolution in modern design in the inner-city. “We have more spec homes coming down the pipeline that we can’t wait to show,” he says. NL

fast facts buILdEr: riverview custom homes COMMuNIty: St. andrews heights N.W. StyLE: West coast-inspired luxury custom home SIzE: 5,386 sq. ft. prICE: $4 million addrESS: 2540 Toronto crescent N.W. HOurS: By appointment only WEb:

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community profile  n

The best of both Nolan Hill’s picturesque backdrop redefines coming home n   Written by

Aaliya Essa L o c at i o n , l o c at i o n , l o c at i o n . For many, if not all, the search for a new home is centered on where you want to live. From there, the decisions don’t get any easier, but the choice of community is first and foremost on the minds of consumers. For this reason, United Communities spent considerable time establishing a sense of place and identity in the subdivision of Nolan Hill in Calgary’s northwest. And so far, people who are coming to visit, like what they see. With its signature Celtic-styled, castle-ruin stone architectural features, Nolan Hill has a distinct character and charm that’s reflected in the lifestyle as well. Ample green space encourages active outdoor living, while home builder and design options guarantee life is good indoors and out. “Old world charm and modern living come together to create an Irish theme in Nolan Hill. The castle ruins, rolling hills and architecture that focuses on stonework and deep rich colours all create a stunning sense of arrival and a place residents are happy to call home.,” says Steve LePan, Marketing Director for United Communities. Nolan Hill is spread across 500 acres, with an abundance dedicated to green space, including a ravine, pathway system, parks and playgrounds. There’s a great space for everyone member of the family to enjoy, whether it’s the children playing at the park, or the entire family taking a stroll, or riding a bike through the greater network of community paths in the area. “The Symons Valley Ranch market is now open, with over 40 local vendors,” says

LePan. “This is an unbelievable amenity to have in the suburbs, and within walking distance to Nolan Hill!” he adds. There is also family-friendly programing throughout the year, making it a great hubbub for local communities nearby. Not to mention an ideal place to buy fresh produce too. With quick access to Nolan Hill from both Sarcee Trail and Shaganappi Trail, residents have an excess of amenities within a few minutes drive. One such amenity is Beacon Hill Shopping Centre located one kilometre south of the community. This shopping hub includes Costco, Canadian Tire, Sport Chek, Shopper’s Drug Mart and so much more. And for residents that use public transportation they will be happy to hear that Calgary Transit will have a bus route assigned by the summer of this year, making commuting for everyone that much simpler. With a wide range of buyers in mind, there are now many different types of homes avail-

Ample green space encourages active outdoor living, while home builder and design options guarantee life is good indoors and out. 28 | NE W HOME LIVING

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  community profile

worlds able in Nolan Hill, with new multi-family options by Avi Urban offering townhomes in The Post project, and Trinity townhomes built by Jayman Modus. It’s options such as these that have made the community popular with prospective first time buyers especially. Single-family home builders include respected names like Trico Homes, Homes by Avi, Shane Homes, Morrison Homes and Sterling Homes — all award-winning builders. There are starter homes, move-up homes, and estate style homes here, providing a great opportunity for buyers with any budget. There will be a total of 2,000 homes upon build-out, and LePan says they are approaching the halfway mark, after only two years of sales.


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community profile


Prices range from the $350,000s for a laned-home, the $400,000s for a front garage home all the way up to the $600,000s and beyond for an estate style walkout backing onto the ravine. Presently selling in newly released phases four and six, builders offer lots that range from 29 to 36 feet of frontage. Homes are also available in Phases three, five, and eleven. “Nolan Hill is now one of the fastest selling communities in the city with over 300 homes sold last year,” says LePan. United Communities has been developing some of Calgary’s favourite neighbourhoods for over 27 years. They also developed Sage Hill, which is right next door to Nolan Hill. Their philosophy is simple: build communities that lead by example, that are focused around buyers wants and needs, and add value to people’s lives. Nolan Hill is the classic example of their philosophy and innovation coming together to combine old world charm with new world luxury and amenities. It’s a creative approach to designing ‘people-friendly’ neighbourhoods that seems to be working. NL

“Nolan Hill is now one of the fastest selling communities in the city with over 300 homes sold last year.”


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fast facts COMMuNIty: Nolan hill dEVELOpEr: United communities buILdErS: Multi-family — avi Urban, Jayman Modus Single-family — Shane homes, Sterling homes, Trico homes, homes by avi and Morrison homes. prICE: Multi-family from the $300,000s. Laned homes are from the $350,000s and front attached garage homes from the $450,000s – $800,000s dIrECtIONS: Take Sarcee Trail north from Stoney Trail and follow the signs. HOurS: Monday to Thursday 2 to 8 p.m., weekends and holidays noon to 5 p.m. WEb:


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n  lifestyle

Lucky charms Living the dream in Stampede Lottery Home Karen Durrie Don Molyneaux

n   Written by Photos by


he most that people usually take home from a day at Calgary Stampede is a belly full of fried treats and perhaps a giant stuffed animal won on the midway. John and Natalie Gaminde ended up with a house, and not just any house, but a one-of-a-kind Stampede Lottery home by Homes by Avi. The lucky couple had recently moved from Toronto and John was searching for work in Calgary. On impulse, they purchased 100 tickets for $50 for the Stampede Rotary Dream House raffle. They hadn’t even seen anything but its exterior. Skipping standing in the long line to view the inside, Natalie joked that there was no reason to look at it since they’d be living in it soon enough. “Then we went home and didn’t even think about it anymore, we forgot all about it,” John says. When a phone call came, the couple assumed it was regarding a job John had applied for, and when Natalie heard John repeatedly saying “Thank you, thank you,” she figured he’d landed a position with a good wage. Nope. They’d landed a brand new Frank Lloyd Wright inspired house worth $750,000. “We were told we’d won the house, and we were jumping,” Natalie says. “But we thought it might be a prank call, and we were up till 1:00 at night to make sure. Then we saw it on Facebook and on the Calgary Stampede website. Well, I didn’t even sleep, and I had to work on that day. I was pretty excited,” John says. Built by Homes by Avi, the house was relocated to its Chaparral Valley lot, and John and Natalie moved in last October, along with their impish daughters Eoin, three, and Euan, one.


Clockwise from left: John, Natalie, Eoin and Euan Gaminde.

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The kitchen is filled with light from a sliding patio door that leads to a wraparound porch.

The traditional Prairie exterior is a trademark of Wright’s designs, with clean horizontal lines, shallow roof slopes, and an open-concept interior with plenty of light. Past a soothing waterfall feature in the foyer, a large culinary kitchen and livingroom space dominate the home. The house did not come furnished, so the Gamindes, who previously lived in a small two-bedroom apartment, are still working toward filling out the space with tasteful choices that complement the design. This has been helped somewhat by John’s two jobs — he is a materials handler at a printing company also works part-time at Ikea — and his seemingly endless luck. Shortly after moving into the Stampede house, he won $2,900 on a sport lottery game. The couple used the winnings to purchase a large leather sectional sofa for the living room among other things. “It’s an adjustment,” Natalie says of going from a small apartment to a 2,330-square-foot house. “People are thinking we’re rich, but we are not,” she says. The home they are living in would be forgiven for belying this fact. It is unique and stately in a neighbourhood dominated by Craftsman-style exteriors.


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Its neutral palette and upscale design elements, including a massive island surrounded by a unique metal-accented, raw-edge walnut eating bar, chevron-patterned oak floor, and blown-glass globe lighting all speak to the sort of impeccable tastes found in somewhat tonier neighbourhoods. The kitchen is filled with light from a sliding patio door that leads to a wraparound porch. Stainless Viking appliances include a huge fridge and a six-burner gas range set among contemporary walnut cabinetry and open raw-edged shelving with recessed lighting for showing off select pieces. Natalie enjoys cooking dishes from the pair’s native Philippines, and baking treats with little Eoin. The second floor features three bedrooms and a flex room with a glass wall overlooking the stairs to the main floor. It contains a wine fridge, espresso machine, and built-in shelving and cabinetry ideal for an office or craft room. It sits largely empty at the moment as the Gamindes grow into their new surroundings.

n  lifestyle

The builders have brought in many elements of nature with planters built into the main floor media room, and outdoor living spaces including the porch, and a wraparound balcony on the upper floor. It’s a good thing, too, as the large house and detached garage almost completely occupy the lot, along with a play structure that was part of the prize. The couple’s spacious master bedroom opens to a spa-like ensuite with a steam shower and large, deep bathtub that Natalie says the kids love jumping into with her. Natalie was the one who insisted on occupying the house rather than selling it. They did briefly entertain the idea of selling, buying a less expensive house, and keeping the extra profit, but have decided to stay for at least five years. They are slowly getting to know their new city and neighbourhood, but it’s been lonely, Natalie admits, since most of their family resides in Ontario. Skype has helped close the distance somewhat, she says. She is sure the feeling of being alone will change once the weather warms up, and they start to see more neighbourhood children around. Some homes on their street are still under construction as the new subdivision continues to expand. The family enjoys walking on area pathways and going skating at the community centre, and they are looking forward to hosting family visitors in their spacious new house during this year’s Calgary Stampede. This year, maybe John’s luck will rub off on someone else. NL

Shortly after moving into the Stampede house, he won $2,900 on a sport lottery game. The couple used the winnings to purchase a large leather sectional sofa. march 2014 NE W HOME LIVING

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The road ahead Y Part 1

ou can’t ask for a better housing forecast than what’s in store for Calgary in 2014. The recession is but a fading memory, and — although last summer’s floods may have affected the investment viability of the market a touch — by and large, Calgary’s new home industry is exceedingly healthy and even approaching boom proportions. But it’s not all blue skies, as thunderclouds are quickly gathering in the distance. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) and every other real estate institution in the country agree that 2014 will be a big year for the city’s housing market. With a bullish economy, an enviable unemployment rate and record in-migration numbers, Calgary is ripe for another housing boom. According to the 2013 Top Alberta Towns Investment Report by the Real Estate Investment Network (REIN) all the ingredients for robust growth are found in Calgary. “The long-term economics continue to provide both homeowners and investors a strong foundation from which to build their portfolios. The next five years bode very well for the city,” it says. Rising numbers CMHC’s Fall 2013 Calgary Housing Market Outlook mirrors this assessment, as total housing starts in the Calgary Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) are forecast to rise to 13,100 in 2014. “Following a nine per cent reducRichard Cho tion in 2013, total housing starts in 2014 are forecast to rebound with gains in both single-detached and multi-family construction,” says Richard Cho, CMHC’s Senior Market Analyst for Calgary.


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“New home buyers are capitalizing on low mortgage rates and increased equity gains towards their next home purchase. In addition, new home inventories remain relatively low, creating opportunities for more units to be started,” Cho says. In 2014, single-detached starts are forecast to increase five per cent to 6,500 units. Multi-family starts, he says, are projected to rebound in 2014 after a 20 per cent dip in 2013, which was mainly due to a decrease in apartment construction. “Rising (single-family) house prices will have some buyers looking to the multi-family market where prices on average are lower, while others will be buying for lifestyle reasons,” the CMHC forecast says.

The swelling number of immigrants to Calgary is going to need those homes, and more. Calgary CMA Net Migration Net migration expected to post another record year in 2013 number of people 30,000




Richard Cho



0 2004







Source: Statistics Canada, July to June, CMHC Forecast (f) CANADA MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION







Growth is forecast in 2014, but daunting challenges loom Meanwhile, with rental vacancies expected to remain low and rents increasing, demand for multi-family units from renters and investors will also increase, the CMHC report adds. “Collectively, these factors are expected to push up multi-family starts by 20 per cent in 2014, reaching 6,600 units.” The swelling number of immigrants to Calgary is going to need those homes, and more. The CMHC says net migration to Calgary was forecast to total 30,000 in 2013, up from 29,309 in 2012. As an anecdote, the REIN report says Calgary dethroned Toronto as the top destination for U-Haul renters in 2012, the first time that Canada’s biggest city relinquished top spot in that category in 12 years. Growth spurt Demand for homes will certainly be there and builders are poised to take advantage of the favourable economic conditions. Cardel Lifestyles, for example, enjoyed another record year in 2013. “We sold 105 units just in our Panorama West development last year, and we’re all but sold out there,” says Brad Logel, Sales and Marketing Manager at Cardel Lifestyles. “We are presently working on finalizing three developments with another set later in the year. I think we’re well-positioned for another strong year in 2014 to offer affordable, well-designed homes in some of Calgary’s best communities,” he adds. Hopewell Residential says their number of permits last year put them among the Top 5 builders in the city based on volume. “In 2014, we are focusing on increasing those numbers to an all-time high,” says Chris Plosz, Hopewell’s Senior Vice President, Development. Shane Homes’ Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Dave Rickett, says they are aiming to build a total of 500 units in 2014 in Calgary and surrounding areas. Charron Ungar, president of Avi Urban, the multi-family development arm of Homes by Avi, also feels 2014 will also be a breakout year for them with three new multi-family developments they will be announcing soon.

Trouble in paradise But for all the prospects of growth, there is trouble ahead; and all of the builders and developers we spoke with for this article say affordability of homes is increasingly at risk.

“Our challenge is the ability to meet the increasing demand fast enough because of the land supply crunch.” Trent Edwards

A good economy can be a double-edged sword, as the strong demand for homes is putting a strain on supply, which in turn, will negatively affect home prices. The continued impasse between the City and home builders regarding the availability of serviced land is not helping ease concerns. Some cracks are already surfacing. The Altus Group says land for townhome developments in Calgary is growing scarce fast. “We saw 5,400 condo sales in 2013, just 200 units shy of the highest level in 2005,” says Matthew Boukall, Altus’ director for research, valuation and advisory. He tells New Home Living that land for townhomes is disappearing. “We’re not finding land specifically for townhomes that have not been already absorbed in the city.”


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The Altus report says the available inventory of new condominium units declined in 2013, as strong demand outpaced developers’ ability to add new supply, particularly in the suburban sector where demand for townhouse and affordable apartment product far outstripped new supplies. “In 2014, expect continued tightening of suburban land supplies as the available land in new greenfield communities is rapidly developed and absorbed by the market,” Boukall says. And sure as night comes after day, anytime there is more demand than supply, price increases are bound to follow. “As affordability continues to be challenged, the demand for multifamily will grow,” says Trent Edwards, Chief Operating Officer at Brookfield Residential Alberta. “It will be critical for all of us to work together to provide more multi-family products in all sectors of the city. Our challenge is the ability to meet the increasing demand fast enough because of the land supply crunch.” Affordability fallout The Canada Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) says the higher housing starts has also resulted in higher demand for labour and materials used to construct a home, and these have pushed up costs, further nudging home prices higher. To the end of July 2013, Statistics Canada’s New House Price Index (NHPI) for Calgary and area was up 4.7 per cent, considerably higher than the one per cent gains a year earlier. It can get worse.

Avi Urban’s Ungar says: “Most all of the components of the home building process have become more expensive, however, as a matter of cost dollars, the value of land has increased most significantly. I do not see this trend changing without significant provision of new serviced land opportunity,” he tells New Home Living. Hopewell’s Plosz shares in the concern. “We will have a single-family lot crunch and it will affect the affordability of people to own their first home. There will just not be enough developed lots to meet demand and not enough choice for affordable homes in all quadrants of the city,” he says. “Where there is supply, it will be depleted quite quickly, based on the lens we see Chris Plosz it through.” Which begs the question: Why is there a shortage of serviced land? The short answer is City Hall doesn’t think there is one. City planners anticipate Calgary to grow by 118,500 people over the next five years, with 94 per cent living in the suburbs. They say that new communities that are already in progress, planned or in the planning process will provide capacity for 407,000 more people. The city expects to add 2,400 hectares of serviced land by 2014, providing capacity for up to 160,000 new people. NL Next month: Part II of The Road Ahead

A good economy can be a double-edged sword, as the strong demand for homes is putting a strain on supply, which in turn, will negatively affect home prices. The continued impasse between the City and home builders regarding the availability of serviced land is not helping ease concerns. Charron Ungar


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style  n

Phillipe Starck’s “Organica” faucet for Hansgrohe in action.

Sweet ensuite Finding the look for your most private sanctuary n   Written by

David Crosson


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estroom, washroom, lavatory, loo — whatever you call it, the bathroom is one of your home’s hardest-working spaces. From morning ablutions to bedtime flossing and everything in-between, it also pitches in to serve as a spa, pet salon, beauty parlour and, on occasion, first aid station. If you’re considering a restroom refresh in the future, knowing how and where to start can be a formidable chore. The variety of options in the marketplace is dazzling — and also daunting if you don’t have a plan. The most dangerous pitfall is what I like to call “magpie affliction”, where everything you see sets you into a tailspin of rapture. This is fun, of course, but not particularly useful when reno-ing a bathroom. The most important thing to remember is “To thine own self be true”. For example, if you’re a devout shower fan don’t drop $9K on a freestanding sculptural tub that will likely only be used to wash the dog (lucky Rover). Similarly, if classic chrome is what puts a gleam in your eye, don’t fall (fashion) victim to the latest Crayola-coloured faucet. See where I’m going with this?


First off, figure out what your needs and wants are (sometimes they’re one and the same) then apply those to the items you see. If you’re going to spend money, do so wisely by making your selections current but not too flavour-of-the-week. Word to the wise: if you load up the space with everything from the latest style mags it’s bound to date more quickly than one with a blend of classic and trend. A good rule of thumb is to relegate the au courant to more easily changeable items such as light fi xtures, toilets, faucets and accessories. Items that require more financial heavy lifting to purchase and/or install (tubs, shower fittings, tiles, flooring, etc.) will serve you better in the long run if they are a bit more design-neutral in nature. Below are three emerging bathroom trends I feel will hold their own in the coming years, gleaned from the recent 2014 Interior Design Show in Toronto. I hope they inspire and enlighten you on your quest for the perfect salle de bain!

Word to the wise: if you load up the space with everything from the latest style mags it’s bound to date more quickly than one with a blend of classic and trend. GOING OrGaNIC From the gentle twist of Phillipe Starck’s “Organica” faucet for Hansgrohe to a suite inspired by a drop of liquid at Gessi, bathroom fi xtures are loosening up and breaking away from the right-angle rigidity of their predecessors. Seen also in the more amorphous shapes of sinks and tubs, this gentle new wave is a welcome addition to a room just made for relaxation. At the 2014 Interior Design Show in Toronto, the freestanding tubs (yes, they’re still with us) that stood out most featured torques and flourishes that brought an added sense of drama to their silhouette. The movement is also seen in material choices, with crisp Carrara being supplanted by darker toned cousins with stone-cold style to spare. Take, for example, Stone Forest’s chic grey bathtub or the latest offerings from Unik, softly hewn from chocolaty limestone in a variety of configurations. A standout at the Toronto show is the slate washbasin from Vanico-Maronyx’s “Origine” line, with integrated faucets and gently sloping ‘erosion’ channels meandering to the drain. Fred Flintstone would definitely approve. SpLaSHdOWN If you love the idea of body jets but hate the thought of gutting your shower surround to get them, salvation is at hand. Offered by a variety of suppliers now — at a variety of price points — these contenders for being your new BFF operate from a single contact point based (for the most part) on existing plumbing. And with everything from body jets and bathing wands to massage features and waterfalls, these fi xtures offer more spray options that the fountains at the Bellagio. Models range from minimal mod — such as Graff ’s elegantly looped “Ametis” model — to tried-and-true traditional options from suppliers like Samuel Heath. Best of

Limestone vanity from uNIK



ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Crosson is the owner of Barbarian Interior Decoration Ltd., which works with both residential and commercial clients in Calgary and beyond. He is also the author of the blog Hausfrau: Better Living Through Better Living and is frequently called upon to provide commentary in matters of life and style in the local media. For more information visit

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all, none skimp on the satisfaction or shower power you’ve come to expect, particularly welcome news to Calgarians, whose creature comforts help stave off the misery incurred by a six-month winter! TECHNOLOGY AMONGST THE TOWELS With near-daily advances in electronics, technology is becoming more commonplace in the bathroom — not to mention affordable. Consider Zitta’s channel of LEDs outlining the perimeter of a glass shower surround, bringing much-needed subtlety to chromatherapy (the use of colour to influence mood). If steam is your preferred method of getting rid of life’s wrinkles, check out the integrated systems Mr. Steam offers. These compact systems — now suitable for single-family homes and condos — provide chromatherapy, aromatherapy, customized temperatures and music, all via simple keypad commands or a stroke of your smartphone screen. And let it not be said that tech isn’t ‘green’: Toto now offers sensor-activated faucets that require no electricity — they create their own power just by running. Now that’s what I call making a splash!  NL

These compact systems provide chromotherapy, aromatherapy, customized temperatures and music. Top left Integrated system from Mr. Steam. These compact systems provide customized temperatures and music, all via simple keypad commands or a stroke of your smartphone screen. Below Freestanding tub with flared silhouette.


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shopping  n

Soak it in

Photo courtesy Rocky Tubs range from smaller, two-seater models Mountain Hot Tubs. that are modest and designed to fit in smaller spaces, even condos, to the extravagant, huge tubs that seat as many as 18 people. Photo courtesy Jacuzzi Hot Tubs of Calgary.

Hot tubs make for the perfect Kathy McCormick stay-cation n   Written by


here’s something magical about sitting outside in a steaming tub of water, watching the stars twinkling overhead and the sparkling snow below, reflected by the moon’s glow. There’s nothing like the calm relaxation of hot tubbing in your own backyard. No wonder the hot tub has only grown in stature and desirability — and that’s not about to end any time soon. “It’s such a simple concept,” says Darren Jordison, general manager and owner of Jacuzzi Hot Tubs of Calgary. “It’s just a box of water that has been enjoyed for thousands of years.” The hot tub has come a long way from the simple soak in an oak barrel, but the reason for it has not. They’re perfect for everyone — and for different reasons, Jordison says. “We have an aging population — and that comes with different aches and pains — so hot tubs are a great natural, non-pharmaceutical way to feel better.” Relaxation, hydrotherapy, soft massaging of strategic spots via jets… it all adds up to a healthy way to live — and with that comes the de-stressing of the hectic, fast-paced lifestyle many live today. It’s a great spot to get conversation started, with family or friends. Kids love to congregate in a hot tub to while away the hours — and the cell phones are checked at the door. “There’s no TV or internet… it’s like sitting around a campfire again,” Jordison says. “It improves people’s physical, social and mental well-being.” Then there’s the weather factor. With Calgary’s climate what it is — with as much as eight months of winter — people love being outside when they can, and a hot tub provides that opportunity. In fact, even in summer, our evenings and nights are cool enough that hot tubs can be enjoyed year round in Calgary, he says.


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Photo Photocourtesy courtesyThe Jacuzzi Home Depot Hot Tubs ofCanada. Calgary.

Photo courtesy Rocky Mountain Hot Tubs.



Tubs range from smaller, two-seater the extravagant, huge tubs that seat as many as 18 people. “The Calgary market is one of the top three in the world,” Jordison says. “It’s the perfect storm of synergy — the weather, the young population, the economy, and the lifestyle of most Calgarians.” Wooden hot tubs that started the hot tub craze are still available, says Drew Christy with Rocky Mountain Pools & Spas Ltd. “You can still get them, but the standard today for hot tubs is acrylic because of the ease of care and maintenance.” And they look good, too. The large rectangular hot tubs today leave room for more people and come with any number of luxuries to fit your desires and your lifestyle — and that’s a big benefit of today’s models, says Christy. “A good retailer will usually go to the customer’s house before to make sure the hot tub will fit and help them decide what tub works best for their situation and their budget.” Adds Jordison: “Complementary site visits can help with privacy issues, how many steps there will be to the hot tub, the influence of the wind — things you might not think about when deciding where to put your tub — and these all indicate good service.” Tubs range from smaller, two-seater models that are modest and designed to fit in smaller spaces, even condos, to the extravagant, huge tubs that seat as many as 18 people. Rocky Mountain Hot Tubs, for example, has an entry-level triangular model that simply plugs into a regular wall outlet and is priced from $3,000. And they have a luxury model for as many as 15 people with salt water for low maintenance, and all the bells and whistles, that can run up to $18,000. “We’re seeing a lot of interest in compact tubs for empty nesters

and those living in condos,” says Jordison. “There is better technology now, too. A compact tub doesn’t mean you have to buy a ‘Dodge Neon’ — you can get a wicked, little ‘Porsche’.” Multiple jets, waterfalls, light therapy, sound systems, TVs… there really is no end to the added luxuries hot tubs have today. “More often, customers look for lighting in their spas for nighttime illumination,” says Blair Maynard, divisional online merchant with The Home Depot Canada. “Sometimes customers go one step further and change out the regular white LED light with blue, red or green LEDs to create different moods. Built-in aromatherapy units are also becoming a popular way to set the mood for relaxation.” But it’s not all about the icing on the cake. If the cake isn’t edible, it’s failed — and the same is true when looking for the ideal hot tub, the experts say. Check the quality of the product — and not only the manufacturer, but the dealer as well. “There are many, many hot tub dealers today, and not all are equal. Is there a warranty? And will they be around to honour a warranty if something goes wrong?” says Christy. Doing your homework will help ensure a positive spa experience that you’ll be able to enjoy for years, says Jordison. “Make sure of the manufacturer, the product quality and features, and the dealer’s reputation. Check the Better Business Bureau, and never leave a deposit without getting it in writing — and make sure it is fully refundable.” NL

Photo courtesy Rocky Mountain Hot Tubs.

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around town n 

New home warranty comes into play

By Pepper Rodriguez

30 divers take frigid Mahogany Polar Bear Plunge

Alberta now has one of the best consumer protection laws for homebuyers after the province rolled out the New Home Buyer Protection Act on February 1. The province says the New Home Buyer Protection Act and supporting regulations will require builders to provide mandatory home warranty coverage for new homes built in the province. “Starting in February, we’re rolling out the strongest consumer protection in Canada for new home buyers. This legislation will help protect the single largest purchase that most people make, a home,” says Ken Hughes, Minister of Municipal Affairs. The legislation applies to newly constructed homes and includes; single family homes, multi-family homes, duplexes, condominiums, manufactured homes and recreational properties. “Canadian Home Builders’ Association – Alberta members offered Canada’s first home warranties and are pleased all home buyers will soon be protected. We look forward to working with all stakeholders to make the program a success,” says Jim Rivait, CEO, Canadian Home Builders’ Association.

Hopewell Residential’s annual Mahogany Polar Bear Plunge brought in 30 brave and charitable souls to take the deep-freeze dip in the popular southeast community’s frozen lake to benefit Inn from the Cold. The fifth annual Polar Bear Plunge supports Hopewell’s mandate of improving the economic and social fabric of local communities, and is an opportunity for the award-winning developer, along with its valued partners in business, to give back to deserving Calgary residents. “We’re proud to have som many willing participants involved in this event year after year,” says Erin McGregor, Marketing Manager, Development, for Hopewell Residential. Hopewell has raised over $135,000 for Inn from the Cold since the Plunge’s inaugural event in 2010. This year, the Plunge will raise and donate an additional $30,000 to the temporary emergency shelter, which not only helps homeless Calgary families find housing, but continually strives to end local homelessness through various programs and services.

Joined at the hip in Canals Landing

January 2014 housing starts in Calgary

A new generation of semi-detached homes is being introduced by Genesis Land Developments in their Canals Landing community that further illustrates the innovative nature of this water-linked Airdrie neighbourhood. The two new models of semi-detached homes being introduced are unique in that they have no common walls between the two homes. Rather, they are only connected through the walls of their attached front garages. Genesis says these homes deliver the “benefits of a detached home with the savings offered by smart design.” Introduced are the Arden and the Brandt semi-detached homes that start in the low $300,000s. The Arden ranges from 1,314 to 1,537 square-feet, while the Brandt is from 1,458 to 1,692 square-feet. Both feature top quality craftsmanship and standard finishes, including maple and iron spindle railings, stainless steel appliances, granite kitchen tops, nine-foot ceilings, hardwood floors and oversized single-car garages. Canals Landing is a vibrant mixed-use community with a full offering to families including schools, daycares and shopping amenities. Only a 25-minute drive to Calgary’s core, the Canals Landing offers wide-open green spaces and paved walking trails nestled between canals.

Calgary’s new home market is off to a hot start in 2014, as housing starts in the Calgary Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) were trending at 14,322 units in January compared to 13,996 in December, the latest Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) report says. The trend is a six month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR)1 of total housing starts. “The trend in total housing starts moved higher in January due to increased production in both the single-detached and multi-family markets. The rising trend in housing starts has been supported by heightened net migration and job growth, as well as a decline in new home inventories,” said Richard Cho, CMHC’s Senior Market Analyst for Calgary. The standalone monthly SAAR was 17,526 units in January, up from 10,874 in December. While higher starts were reported for all unit types, the increase in January was most pronounced in the apartment sector.  NL march 2014 NE W HOME LIVING

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calgary map  n  Northwest/Northeast


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calgary map  n  Southwest


Rainbow Falls · Westcreek · Westmere


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Southeast/Calgary area  n  calgary map




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advertisers index  n Baywest Homes page 57

Cedarglen Homes page 21

Broadview Homes page 54

CHBA page 32

Brookfield Residential pages 16-17

DS Homes page 53

Calbridge Vantage Gatefold-page 2

Dundee Developments Evansridge page 56

Cardel Homes Cranston page 45

Emerald New Homes Sovereign Court pages 48

Cardel Homes Quarry Park page 27


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Genesis Land Development Canals Landing page 7 Homes by Avi page 4 Hopewell Communities Mahogany page 3 Innovations by Jayman page 37 Jayman MasterBUILT page 22

Kinette Club Golf for Girls page 26

Tamani Developments Riversong page 50

Mattamy Homes page 59

Trico Homes page 36

McKee Homes page 9

United Communities Nolan Hill page 31

Melcor Developments King’s Heights page 49 Sabal Homes page 41 Shane Homes Nolan Hill page 60

Watermark page 48 WestCreek Developments Legacy FC, pages 12-15

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hope at large n

By Marty Hope

The mortgage outlook A shifting mortgage landscape can mean different things for different buyers Housing is still a pretty good deal in Calgary — but rate changes and another rule change may impact some buyers more than others. “A recent study on affordability by RBC shows Calgary as still one of the most affordable cities in Canada when it comes to housing,” says Gary Siegle, vice-president of sales for The Prairies for the national brokerage firm Invis and Mortgage Intelligence. The outlook for this year is for some firming of fixed rates. “As the U.S. economy strengthens, the bond rate responds and we hear that bond rates are expected to rise somewhat over the next few months. As bonds drive the pricing for fixed rate mortgages, forecasters expect that there will be upward pressure on fixed rate mortgages,” says Siegle. OK, that’s one side of the equation. From the Bank of Canada’s perspective they don’t see the prime rate rising any time soon, Siegle adds. The prime rate drives the pricing of variable rate mortgages that sits currently at three per cent, he says, and are available at prime less 0.3 or 0.4 per cent. Variable rate mortgages and mortgages with a term less than five years must be qualified at the Bank of Canada’s benchmark of something like 5.34 per cent. So what does all this mean to affordability, you may ask? “Well,” says Siegle, “the forecast for fixed rate mortgages is for them to rise slowly and the benchmark will also rise if fixed rate mortgages go up. So even though


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some very low rates are available in the variable market, underwriting rules will drive qualification to be done at higher rates — if, in fact, they do rise. Overall, though, the news isn’t all gloom and doom. Calgary still ranks up there with other major centres when it comes to housing affordability, despite higher house prices. “It’s because Calgary’s workforce has many higher-income jobs and thus a higher overall average income than many other cities,” says Siegle. But when shopping for a home, some things don’t change. Anyone shopping the market should know how much house they can afford, and how much mortgage they can afford to carry. The first piece of advice from Siegle is to discuss your situation with an expert. And come armed with as much household financial information you can gather — the more the better. “A mortgage broker would like to see income confirmation documents (pay

stubs, T4s), and type of employment (do you own your own business, work on commission, or salary-plus),” he says. “And a critical ingredient is the source of the down payment (personal savings, RRSPs, or documents from the sale of an existing property, or maybe a gift from the family).” Another element that must be considered is the permitted amount of household income that can go towards a mortgage. The terms used are gross debt service (GDS) and total debt service (TDS). And don’t forget those earlier rule changes that reduced the maximum amortization period from 30 to 25 years for high-ratio insured loans, once again reducing the loan-to-value for refinances from 85 to 80 per cent, changes to the maximum GDS and TDS to 39 and 44 per cent respectively, and limiting the availability of government-backed insured mortgages to homes of less than $1 million, Siegle says. And one last consideration — closing costs. A conglomeration of payments like a home inspection fee, appraisal fee, title search fee, and pro-rated property taxes, — among others. “All of this is why a personal conversation with a mortgage expert is highly recommended,” Siegle says. NL

Marty Hope. For more than two decades Marty Hope has been reporting on the housing and development industry in Calgary, throughout Alberta, and across Canada. In March, he was presented with the Maple Leaf Award from the Canadian Home Builders’ Association which is given annually to a non-builder member in Canada for contributions to the industry.

New Home Living - March 2014  
New Home Living - March 2014