Buying a Home in a New Vs. Established Community in Calgary
October 25, 2018 | by QualicoCommunities
Making the decision to buy a home in a new or an established community can be particularly difficult in Calgary. There have been many changes to both options in recent years, making their respective pros and cons difficult to differentiate. Here are some things to consider before you decide where to buy.
Calgary’s established communities are often found in closer proximity to the downtown core, which means a shorter commute time whether you’re driving, taking the Ctrain, or taking a bus. However, one of the downsides of living closer to downtown is the narrower streets - drivers are often found inching along 14th street or Macleod trail during rush hour, or stopping frequently at the many intersections.
While new communities are often found further from the downtown core, transit service options have increased in recent years. There are BRT and express bus lines that take commuters to the city centre without having to transfer buses. The drive time is often greater than established communities, but new communities typically have easier access to several major thoroughfares like Stoney Trail, Crowchild, and Deerfoot.
Established communities often have greater densities than new communities. This is because you’ll find mixed-use zoning that offers a variety of different dwelling types (like townhouses and apartments) and amenities (like shops and restaurants). The greater density means established communities are often bustling with activity. However, depending on your disposition, it may be a little too alive with noise.
Conversely, new communities often have lower density housing like single family homes and duplexes, and amenities will often be in a separate zone that is usually a short driving distance away. But that being said, many newer communities are beginning to add shops and restaurants within walking distance from the neighbourhoods, or they may already have a central area that is walkable.
Older communities typically have it all: schools, gyms, grocery stores, daycares, malls, and medical services, all within a short jaunt. You are also likely to find specialized shops that offer worldly flavours, boutique items, or family-owned bakeries.
New communities are starting to add more amenities so residents don’t have to travel far to get what they need. Additionally, many also add special amenities just for their residents, like communities centers that have indoor playgrounds, sports equipment rentals, and rental rooms for parties. Many offer splash parks, and even lake access for residents to enjoy for all of Calgary’s four seasons.
Whether you’re in a new community or an old one, you’ll come across construction. In established communities, you’ll likely see intermittent road repairs in the summer as well as extensive infill construction where new, higher density housing will be developed.
If you buy a home in a new community, it may not be finished. New houses will be going up around you, new roads will be developed, and schools and playgrounds will be in the process of being established. The constant construction action isn’t always loud or invasive, but it can last for an extended period of time.
Sometimes we know intuitively what neighbourhood suits us and what sort of ‘feel’ we want when buying a home. Some people love the bustle of seeing commuters walk by, patrons sitting outside for a coffee, and the general busyness of city living. Established communities also have older trees that create beautiful canopies for shade, and have character homes that tell a story with their nearly century-old age.
Conversely, some love the uniformity of new construction- there’s architectural guidelines, and the look of every house fits together perfectly to create a cohesive atmosphere. New communities also attract younger couples with young kids, so there’s plenty of action with kids running around, riding bikes, or playing street hockey.
New and established communities both have their benefits - which one will you choose?