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Wednesday, 29 August 2012 16:56

Condo development makes home ownership affordable in Swift Current

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A groundbreaking ceremony for Chinook Residency took place on Aug. 24. From left, Innovation Credit Union Vice President Business Solutions Judy Hornung, Swift Current Mayor Jerrod Schafer, D3 Developers President Murali Krishnan, WestCap Vice President Wanda Hunchak and D3 Developers representative Rupa Krishnan. A groundbreaking ceremony for Chinook Residency took place on Aug. 24. From left, Innovation Credit Union Vice President Business Solutions Judy Hornung, Swift Current Mayor Jerrod Schafer, D3 Developers President Murali Krishnan, WestCap Vice President Wanda Hunchak and D3 Developers representative Rupa Krishnan. Matthew Liebenberg/Prairie Post

A new condominium development in Swift Current will provide more options for people looking to own a home.

 

The groundbreaking ceremony for Chinook Residency, a 16-unit project at 825 Gladstone Street East, took place on Aug. 24.

This entry-level housing development by D3 Developers Inc. has received $2 million in financial assistance from the Saskatchewan Government through the HeadStart on a Home program, which is aimed at making home ownership more affordable.

“It’s been an awesome opportunity and hopefully we can do a lot more and help the community grow,” D3 Developers President Murali Krishnan said. “Community growth is good for everybody and roots in the community help the community grow.”

The Headstart on a Home program is a $200 million provincial initiative that started a year ago. It will finance the construction of at least 1,000 new, entry-level homes over five years.

Municipalities are the program applicants on behalf of builders and developers, who are eligible for construction loans covering up to 90 per cent of the cost of a development. Program funding is administered by Westcap Mgt. Ltd. in association with 12 credit unions, including Innovation Credit Union in Swift Current.

“We've hit the ground running,” Westcap Vice President Wanda Hunchak said. “There is a lot of demand for entry-level housing across the province.”

Since the launch of the program, Westcap has committed $64 million in financing to the construction of 426 units, of which around 40 per cent are complete and about 128 units have been sold. The target sale price for HeadStart homes will be at or below the MLS average sale price for similar units in each area.

According to Hunchak the growing Saskatchewan economy is resulting in a strong real estate market with increasing housing prices.

“That means that people who make a good, decent income can no longer afford market pricing for housing,” she said. “So we're seeing people that want to become home owners think it's unattainable for them and that's really where HeadStart on a Home fits in.”

Swift Current Mayor Jerrod Schafer highlighted the importance of the partnerships in the success of the program.

“We're very happy to be a part of the partnership process by extending the tax exemption program to this so that it continues to be an affordable project,” he said.

The Chinook Residency project will receive five year property tax relief from the City of Swift Current and down payment financing by Innovation Credit Union. Construction work is ahead of schedule and eight units are expected to be completed in November 2012. The other eight units are due for completion in December 2012.

The development consists of two two-storey buildings, each containing eight units that vary in size from 1,112 to 1,152 square feet. Each unit has a den/office space, private balcony and a separate entrance. The two-bedroom, one-and-a-half bathroom units are priced from $185,760 to $191,952 (taxes included).

Krishnan said two units have already been sold and there are conditional offers on two other units. A survey conducted in the Swift Current area in November 2011 indicated 30 per cent of respondents would prefer a single level apartment condominium, with 35 per cent indicating they would pay between $150,000 and $200,000 for their home.

“Everything points to this project being successful and with the incentives that just makes it a lot more amenable to the average buyer,” he said. “So I think this will be a successful project and hopefully we can expand it to phase two and maybe phase three. That depends on how it sells.”

 
Read 5735 times Last modified on Wednesday, 29 August 2012 17:01
Matthew Liebenberg

Reporter/Photographer