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July 01, 2013

Hope at large - The price of success

Jayman Modus charts careful course in looming land crunch

Marty Hope

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Land. There’s plenty of it here in the Prairies. The trick is, though, to find it, develop it, and build on it — keeping affordability at the forefront of any decisions being made.

“That’s probably our biggest challenge, finding the right land for our projects, in terms of affordability and density,” says Laurie Gordon, president of Jayman Modus. “And we’re constantly doing our homework on this.”

Despite the fact that work has started on about only half as many multi-family units so far this year as there were a year ago, the demand for condominium townhouses and apartments is continuing to gain the favour of house-hungry Calgarians looking to fulfill or take the first steps in homeownership.

Unlike those buyers in the previous generation who looked at condos strictly as “all they could afford,” today’s buyers want style and value packaged up with an appealing price point.

“The condo townhouse is becoming the new single-family home, given the rising cost of housing,” says Gordon.

Condominium living is about value — and much more than that, it’s about lifestyle.

“It’s a lifestyle choice, hence product style, size, indoor and outdoor community amenities, nearby shopping, ease of traffic routes, and desirable locations will affect price points,” says Gordon. “And whether it’s townhome or apartment, people are looking for efficient liveable spaces that are thoughtfully laid out and have a sense of design.”

All of which brings us full circle and back to the issue of how to maintain affordability and the challenges builders face in attempting to keep the lid on things.

Gordon says that in order to maintain price points between $150,000 and $350,000 per unit, densities have increased and the size of housing units have decreased.

“What concerns me is that housing affordability is directly related to escalating land prices due to planning and infrastructure-related policy,” she says.

She continues by saying that affordable housing choices must be planned for in urban and suburban locations, and that infrastructure-related needs and solutions must take into consideration the movement of people and goods in those locations.

Jayman Modus has its development and building feet in both sectors. Currently, it is selling its 99-townhouse Trinity development in suburban Nolan Hill and will be selling Overture, an estate condo product in Currie Barracks located off Crowchild Trail in southwest Calgary, later this year.

Modus has been successful in combining affordability with good looks, having laid claim to a couple of design awards at Aprils SAM Awards gala hosted by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association – Calgary Region. One was for its Karma model in Mint in southwest New Brighton, which is priced from the mid-$200,000s, and the other was for the Amber layout in The Concept in Cochrane’s Sunset Ridge, priced from the mid-$300,000s. As well, the company scooped up a J.D Powers Award as validation for customer service excellence.

“The Modus team is passionate about creating liveable, design-savvy homes that meet the needs and affordability preferences of our customers,” says Gordon.

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