When you decide it's time to move your family to a better neighbourhood, Calgary certainly presents you with a plethora of options. Besides choosing one of the city's many fine areas to live in, you also have a larger choice to make: will you head to the suburbs, or move inwards and seek an infill home? Before you decide, let's take a closer look at infill development in Calgary.
What Is An Infill?
Infill homes are those that are built within an existing urban fabric. This is in contrast to suburban development, where brand new communities are created out of whole cloth. An infill home typically replaces an older home (or building) that previously stood on the lot.
This housing trend has become increasingly popular with younger homeowners and growing families who are looking to move into active, well-established neighbourhoods. Although there are a few broad archetypes that can be applied to infill homes - they're often modern, attached, long and narrow - there are a lot design options and layouts available.
New infill construction is often split between attached and detached homes. In Calgary, most attached homes are duplexes which stand well clear of their property lines; the city has few fully-attached townhouses. Many homeowners building in infill neighbourhoods opt for the duplex model because they see the rental potential of their property as well as its value as a home.
Advantages Of Infill Living
As noted above, the chief attraction of an infill home is its established location. Surrounded by decades of active urban development, these neighbourhoods are served with a variety of amenities and attractions that are simply impossible to duplicate in Calgary's newer outlying communities.
The fact that many of these attractions can be accessed on foot or by bike is also appealing to a lot of homeowners. Between its more compact footprint and the reduced reliance on car travel it affords, an infill home can dramatically reduce a family's environmental impact.
There's also a cultural diversity to most infill communities that's deeply appealing to prospective home buyers. Representing the best parts of all the diversity that has come to Calgary over the years, urban infill areas are vibrant and exciting neighbourhoods to be a part of.
Minimizing Potential Drawbacks
One of the most common points offered up to homeowners who want to build on an infill lot is that the land is costly and the plots are cramped. This is not necessarily the case; as mentioned above, most infill neighbourhoods feature a mixture of larger and smaller lots. Even on modestly-sized lots, a creative builder can work wonders when designing a new house. Infill homes built to cope with the challenges of their land can be far more striking - and more comfortable - than their suburban counterparts.
As to the matter of price, it's true that these homes can be a little more costly than a suburban one, especially on a per-square-metre basis. However, an overly reductive point of view misses all of the financial advantages that the infill home's central location has to offer; shorter commutes and reduced automotive costs translate into more time to enjoy the community - and more money with which to do it!
Dismissing infill homes as too costly also makes the mistake of taking a decidedly short-term view. The high price of infill lots simply demonstrates their consistent value on the real estate market; a well-built infill home is going to appreciate faster than a suburban one. As in many financial decisions, a higher initial investment tends to pay off in terms of higher returns down the road.
Case Study: Mount Pleasant
Mount Pleasant makes a perfect example of the resurgent urban communities that are attracting infill development today. Located less than four kilometres north of downtown Calgary, Mount Pleasant has been a residential neighbourhood for over a hundred years. This gives its shady, tree-lined avenues a historic character where old and new construction blends together in harmony.
Like many downtown neighbourhoods, lots in Mount Pleasant are laid out as narrow slices in between the avenues which run east-west. Homes in the southern end of the area tend to be smaller and more tightly-packed, but there are many larger lots to the north. Existing homes and new construction tends to split evenly between detached and attached homes.
The area lies in the middle of a robust transportation network. The Trans-Canada Highway (16th Avenue) is Mount Pleasant's southern boundary, offering speedy road travel to suburban amenities. Bus stops are plentiful, and the SAIT rail station is just across the highway.
Mount Pleasant is spoiled for green space. Its northern end backs directly onto Confederation Park, and the river (including Prince's Island) is just two kilometres to the south. Internally, Mount Pleasant Park provides a little local greenery along with a rink-equipped Sportsplex.
With its diverse, active community, strong schools, and ideal location, it's no surprise that Mount Pleasant is thriving. Demand for more homes has led to a brisk trade in infill construction, and fine new houses are going up all the time.
NuVista Homes handles new home construction on infill lots as well as in new communities. In fact, we're currently working on several exciting properties in the Mount Pleasant area. We can help you design a terrific home in an established neighbourhood if you already have a lot picked out. If you're not quite so far along in the planning process, we can also help you find the ideal spot for your dream home. Contact us today and let's get started.