Life Style

Moving quickly: Airdrie calls out with relaxed, active lifestyle

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No one was as shocked as Carol Krauss when the 60-acre farm near Gleichen that she listed for sale in late 2020 sold in four days.

The rapid sale with a two-month possession date left the 51-year-old horse breeder scrambling to organize her assets and find a new home. After living on a farm her entire life, Krauss was ready for a less labour-intensive lifestyle, as long as she could have it in a small community.

Airdrie seemed like the right fit.

“I love Airdrie because it encourages an active lifestyle. Everywhere you look, there’s someone running or walking their dog. I’m originally from Kelowna, and Airdrie feels like Kelowna to me. Everything is easy here,” she says.

Krauss had very specific needs. She wanted a larger, single-family home close to the edge of the city with pathways where she could run. Despite her tight eight-week window to sell her horses and move, she was able to find a new 1,512-square-foot laned home by Genesis Builders in Airdrie’s Bayview community. Although the home, a quick possession Iris, was still under construction, it offered three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a central kitchen with an eight-foot island and an excellent location close to the pathways along Airdrie’s canal system. There was also a park with tennis courts and outdoor fitness equipment nearby plus an endearing view of surrounding farmland.

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She found the home in mid-January and, despite the work yet to be finished, such as the flooring and cabinetry, Krauss went forward with her purchase.

“Genesis said they could get it done by Feb. 8 and they did. They had it all done and I moved in,” she says.

It’s a common practice for new home builders to have an inventory of spec or quick possession homes for buyers like Krauss who want new construction without the wait time to build from scratch. Area sales manager Jeff Augustine says Genesis is carrying more spec homes, defined as homes ready for possession in less than 90 days, because the demand is up.

“Genesis as a builder is normally spec heavy, but I would say we have more to offer now than we did this time last year. They’re the number one seller now, mostly because of low interest rates, and people are impulsive at best right now. Because rates are low, people feel they have to get something done,” he says.

Kristina Plank, marketing manager of Excel Homes, says quick possession homes are “flying off the shelves.” The builder’s practice has been to carry about 40 spec homes around the city at any given time, and it has increased that number by 25 new homes a month.

“We put them on the website and within a week, we have to take them down. They’re sold. It’s a trend we started seeing last spring and it hasn’t ended,” she says.

The rush to take advantage of low mortgage rates, an uncertain employment future and COVID-19 driving people into larger spaces are reasons for the surge.

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“The worry about financial security all ties into what COVID-19 has done and how it has changed the landscape,” Plank says.

The most popular home types, especially among first-time and move-up buyers, are single-family homes priced from $450,000 to $500,000. Excel is waiting for land to be released in Airdrie but is seeing big sales momentum in Walden and Mahogany in southeast Calgary, Livingston and Carrington South in the northwest and in Savanna in the northeast.

“We’re also pre-selling in Homestead by Partners Development, which is south of Savanna. It’s been a crazy year so far,” Plank says.

THE DETAILS

COMMUNITY: Bayview, in Airdrie.

DEVELOPER: Genesis Land Development.

BUILDER: Genesis Builder

HOME: The Iris laned home.

SIZE: 1,512 square feet, three-bedroom, 2.5 bathroom with rear detached garage.

PRICE: From $379,000.

INFORMATION: Visit the Genesis front-garage sales centre on Bayview Circle S.W. in Airdrie or visit genesisbuilds.com

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