Annual spring ‘Open House’ is a ‘Showcase’ for local design and construction abilities and advances
On the window ledge in my office sits a framed ink sketch of a man who appears to be well into his late 80s, maybe older. The caption beneath his experienced face reads: “This is the young man who waited for real estate values to come down.”
Perhaps values did drop, momentarily, but over the long haul, the price bar tracks steeply uphill, and the “young man” might have waited too long to step on to the first rung of the property ladder.
If you bought a house in Vancouver in 1960, you paid an average of $13,000, about the same price as a new, imported pickup truck today. In 1980, the average price climbed to $100,000, then $230,000 in 1990. In 2006, it reached $735,000. And earlier this year, it broke $1 million.
Real estate continues to be the best investment a family can make. I mean, why throw money away on rent when there is a broad range of condos, town houses and single-detached homes available? My daughter took the plunge a few years ago and reminds me often that she made a wise decision.
If you are in the market for a new home, and you want to view what some of the region’s best builders have to offer, consider participating in a popular spring event which started Thursday and continues today and Sunday at 22 home sites around the Lower Mainland.
The Open House: A Showcase of New Homes, highlighting the latest advancements in architecture, design, construction technology and energy efficiency, is produced by the Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association and sponsored by the Homeowner Protection Office, a branch of B.C. Housing.
Sixteen builders are featuring 50 decorated and furnished show homes and suites in Abbotsford, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Fort Langley, Langley, Maple Ridge, North Delta, North Vancouver and Surrey. Participating builders are Adera, Azura, Boffo, Cressey, Domani, Foxridge, Legendary, Marathon, Marcon, Morningstar, Oakvale, ParkLane, Polygon, Portrait, Vesta and Wallmark.
Many of the builders have won a variety of provincial and national housing awards over the years. A few have even been honoured with prestigious international awards for design excellence.
Open House offers a broad range of home types and prices, from a space efficient Langley low-rise condo priced at $199,900 to a luxurious Coquitlam beauty valued at more than $1 million. And don’t miss the 8,300-square-foot country house located in an equestrian-themed community in rural Langley.
An incurable housing junkie, I am constantly impressed by the products and services incorporated into today’s new homes.
The Open House event includes sumptuous kitchens, spa-like bathrooms, designer colours, sophisticated finishing details, resort-style amenity facilities and full basements.
Attention to energy- and resource efficient products and services is also evident, including heating and cooling systems, BuiltGreen standards, bamboo flooring and high-performance windows.
As expected, there is a wealth of neighbourhood amenities – public transportation, parks, green space preserves, walking trails, waterfront, golf courses, schools, restaurants, health care and shopping.
With so many builders participating, it’s difficult to feature each one in a space-limited column, so I closed my eyes and twice thrust my finger at the list. The names I hit were Boffo and Legendary.
Boffo has been building homes for more than 40 years. “We see ourselves as a niche or boutique builder, as we design and build our homes strictly for the end user. We build larger than average spaces, focusing on the livability of the homes,” said Boffo marketing manager Karen West.
Boffo is just completing its first Jewel tower at Central Park in Metrotown, a month ahead of schedule. Only six condos remain to be sold, and West expects them to be snapped up by buyers wishing to move in before the HST comes in on July 1.
“The buyers range from newly retired couples downsizing from the family home to young professionals eager to attain home ownership in an excellent location close to the SkyTrain and the vibrant atmosphere of Metrotown,” said West.
West said the second tower, Jewel II, opens today, offering 98 condos and town homes, ranging from 743 to 1,784 square feet. Adding to the living space are covered terraces, some as large as 1,285 square feet. Similar to the first tower, this building has only five condos per floor, providing a measure of privacy. The penthouse levels have just three condos per floor, evoking in owners a feeling of exclusivity.
A selection of floor plans are available, from one bedroom plus den, to three bedrooms. Finishings feature over-height ceilings and doors, hardwood floors, granite and marble countertops, high-end appliances and fixtures, and full concierge services. Talk about being spoiled in your own home.
Legendary Developments chose Fleetwood, an established Surrey neighbourhood, to introduce Maple on 84, an enclave of three and four-bedroom Craftsman-style town houses close to major commuting routes, and within walking distance to public transit, schools, shopping and the sports and leisure centre.
“The spacious floor plans include gourmet kitchens with shaker-style cabinetry and granite counters, the convenience of main-floor powder rooms, and luxurious ensuites with both tubs and showers. Backyard decks and patios extend the living space,” said sales manager Seeta Dhaliwal.
Dhaliwal said a new showhome, loaded with top-of-the-line features, is available for viewing. Sales have been brisk as first-timers and move-up buyers alike are attracted to Maple on 84.
This year’s Open House is sure to please. Even if you are not in the market for a new home, all the show homes have been professionally furnished and decorated, so there is no better place to get ideas. Then again, you might just fall in love with a home on the tour and make the move of your dreams.
Hours are 12 noon to 5 p.m. today and Sunday. Visit www.gvhba.org for details on builders, locations, descriptions, maps and contacts. The website offers links to each builder’s website, so you can choose the new-home projects that interest you the most, then plan your day accordingly.
Posted by Peter Simpson, Vancouver Sun
Date: May 15, 2010
Peter Simpson is the chief executive officer of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association.