Once thought of as a haven for younger buyers making their initial sojourn into more affordable home ownership, it’s the larger, more expensive highrise homes that are continuing to attract those in the 50-plus crowd.
Ernest Hon, director of sales and marketing for Hon Developments, the developer of The Guardian in the historic area of Victoria Park, says babyboomers and empty-nesters are buying the larger units for the views, the location, building amenities, and interior design details and layout.
Among that number are Geoff and Jackie Granville who will say goodbye to their Erlton townhouse and make the relatively short move to their new digs in The Guardian this summer.
“We have enjoyed our home, but it got to be too much home with too much maintenance, and too many incumbrences,” says Geoff, a retired oil and gas consultant. “And our place in The Guardian was exactly what we were looking for — the lock and leave security and access to everything we enjoy about downtown Calgary.”
And the views! The Granvilles will be able to stand on their 38th floor balcony and have 180-degree views of the cityscape and beyond. “We’re away from the downtown jungle but still close enough to enjoy 17th Avenue, Mission, and close to transit,” Geoff adds.
Parham Mahboubi, vice-president of planning and marketing for Qualex-Landmark, says the boomers, downsizers, and empty-nesters are making their presence felt in the urban condo market. This is especially true of the developer’s most recent project, Park Point, which overlooks Central Memorial Park in the city’s Beltline area where a number of purchasers are in the 50-plus crowd.
“We have observed a gradual increase in condo buyers in this demographic driven by their desire for more carefree, centralized living options,” he says, adding that they also want to maintain a certain level of living.
“We have found that the larger square-foot residences in Park Point appeal to this older demographic who are downsizing from much larger homes in the suburbs and want to maintain their quality of living space in a prestigious building and in appealing neighbourhood,” says Mahboubi.
Robert Duteau, senior vice-president of development with Grosvenor Americas, says the company’s Avenue project has been created to respond to the more mature buyer.
“(With Avenue) we’re seeing buyers coming to us with equity from their single-family homes as they continue to follow their life path,” Duteau adds.
Grosvenor’s focus has been on the Beltline area of Calgary on the southern shoulder of downtown, but Avenue development, though, is at the west end of downtown and is appealing to the older crowd.
“Avenue has been designed as a luxury offering that has attracted boomers and right-sizers who have recognized an urban transition is taking place, and are looking for luxury with a downtown address,” says Duteau.
When you get right down to it, buying a condo in the downtown, Beltline, and close-in neighbourhoods is basically a lifestyle decision for everyone, including the older demographic, says Adele Kerr, sales and marketing manager for Birchwood Properties, which is bringing its Ezra on Riley Park condominium to the marketplace.
“Some are leaving homes that seem even larger now that the children are gone, no longer want the yard work or burden of maintaining the large home, and want to be closer to the amenities offered in the surrounding communities and the downtown,” she says.
While lifestyle is the overriding reason for buying a central area condo, the financial element remains a factor.
“These people are a savvy group. They will thoroughly investigate all options and residential condo projects on the market and then make decisions that take advantage of opportunities that make practical and economic sense,” says Mahboubi.
Published on: January 15, 2016