On the move in Watermark, Calgary Herald Article
Starting a home from scratch has its merits, but for an award-winning luxury community west of Calgary limits, 2015 has been the year of the quick possession home.
For the first time since Watermark at Bearspaw launched three years ago, the community has seen sales centre activity shift from pre-construction purchases to homes that are either already complete or well underway.
Watermark is a community by Macdonald Development Corp. where prices start at $1.2 million and average $1.5 million. It won its third straight Community of the Year Calgary Region title at the Canadian Home Builders’ Association-Calgary Region SAM (Sales and Marketing) Awards last spring.
Scott and Tanya Clarke along with their children Kaleigh and Cassandra moved to a quick possession home by Trickle Creek Designer Homes. They put pen to paper last October and moved in March after nine years in nearby Royal Oak.
“I never wanted to build a home … but we did want something new,” says Scott, adding he wasn’t keen on a longer-term design and construction process. “It was a good time for us to move.”
They picked the Kananaskis model, which stretches 3,500 square feet across the top two levels and has a three-car garage.
“Quite frankly, the spec home was perfect because we did have some input into some of the features inside,” adds Scott.
Through 10 months in 2015, there have been 13 quick possession home sales versus 10 lots sold for ground-up custom homes in Watermark.
Three factors triggered the upswing in high-end spec homes this year, says Ian Macdonald, director of sales and marketing for Macdonald Development Corp.
This includes the secure route of sell first-shop later.
“They want to know what they’re taking away from their home in equity to put into their new home,” Macdonald says. “The fact that we have a great inventory to choose from and different architectural styles, there’s bungalows, two storeys — they don’t feel that they’re just being pigeon holed.”
There’s also the influence of people relocating. Macdonald says he’s seen buyers from places such as Ontario; Houston, Texas; and Denver, Colo., adding “they are looking for something right away.”
But in the end, with spec homes, it’s the comfort of knowing what you’re moving into. “There’s the price tag, that’s exactly what the finishes are … Everything is all put together by professional designers, architects and the builders themselves,” he adds.
Watermark is now selling in its third phase and opened a new show home parade recently, featuring Trickle Creek, Astoria Custom Homes, New West Luxury Estate Homes and Wolf Custom Homes on Rockwater Way. Early response to the new lineup has been strong, says Macdonald.
“We’re averaging about 100 groups of people to the show homes a week ever since the launch so it’s been going steady ever since,” he says.
The parade stars Astoria’s Montebello model, The Berkshire by New West and Trickle Creek’s Madeira. Then there’s Wolf’s Capetown model.
Wolf has enjoyed recent success in the community, selling its Mission Revival estate home for $3.45 million. The Mediterranean‐inspired estate home and its guest house span 8,644 square feet.
Beyond homes, Watermark garners interest with both natural and man-made beauty. It has 17 cascading ponds and more than five kilometres of interconnected walking and bike trails. Then there’s the central plaza with its 1,000-square-foot pavilion, kitchen, barbecues, a sports field and NBA-sized basketball court.
This worked for the Clarke family.
“We loved the integrated community concept with the amenity plaza and how everything connected with the pathways and trying to make an environment where people interact in a positive way. We got a good vibe from this place,” says Scott.
“We are always out and about. Every few days we just walk around and check things out. My oldest daughter had her birthday this summer and what she wanted to do was book that plaza and use the outdoor kitchen and have a party there. We did that and it’s great.”
Scott adds, he enjoys the regular wine and cheese social gatherings and family events hosted in the community. “There always seems to be something going on where you can just get out and meet your neighbours.”
Space between homes also also important to the Clarkes, who were impressed by Watermark’s low-density.
“That was crucial,” Scott adds. “I’m from Newfoundland originally and used to live on a big hill overlooking the ocean. That’s how I spent the first 20 years of my life. So moving to Calgary, you obviously don’t get the ocean but you get the mountains. Part of our decision process in moving was we weren’t going to move somewhere where we’re looking into someone’s backyard. We back on a pond here, and it’s beautiful.”
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
PROJECT: Watermark at Bearspaw.
DEVELOPER: Macdonald Development Corp.
BUILDER: Trickle Creek Designer Homes, Astoria Custom Homes, New West Luxury Estate Homes and Wolf Custom Homes.
PRICES: Homes start from $1.2 million.
HOURS: The show homes are open noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday and noon to 5 p.m. on Fridays and weekends.
Published on: November 20, 2015 | Last Updated: November 20, 2015