Townhouses the hot properties for Windsor homebuyers
Dave Battagelllo
The Windsor Star

Windsor’s real estate and home building market has picked up steam, and nowhere is that reflected more than in a major shift to purchases of semi-detached townhomes.

“It’s a demographic that’s the strongest right now,” said Ben Klundert, president of the Greater Windsor Home Builders’ Association.

“It’s a lot of empty nesters — not just retirees — but a lot of people getting their ducks in a row, downsizing and getting ready to retire.”

Of 242 new housing starts in Windsor to date for 2014, 79 of those fall under the category of semi-detached or row housing, according to the latest numbers released by the City of Windsor’s building department.

It’s not just the over age 55  buyers steering toward townhome developments. Single parents and first-time home buyers are also favouring them, said Klundert, founder of BK Cornerstone Homes.

“There is one development where the majority of the street is single women,” he said. “They like the idea of safety with people close to one another and looking after each other.

“Another aspect is selling a bigger home that needs maintenance and purchasing something that is brand new with little maintenance.”

One of the hot spots reflective of the trend is Ambassador Estates — located on the fringe of Ambassador Golf Course.

The development’s townhomes experienced brisk sales when first on the market nearly a decade ago, then stagnated for several years before exploding in popularity the past year or so.

“People might think it’s the retirement age of 65 (buying townhomes), but that’s not true anymore,” said Liana Montaleone, a sales representative for ReMax who handles sales at Ambassador Estates.

“What I’m seeing is with the economy you have people with two or three jobs and they don’t want to spend the time on maintenance of single-family homes,” she said. “They want a place where the exterior is taken care of — the grass cutting, snow clearing.”

There is no specific age group buying into Ambassador Estates, Montaleone said. “It’s everything from first-time home buyers to retirees.”

Montaleone is has also noticed couples who are semi-retired coming to Windsor from other Ontario cities where they sold their large homes for prices far higher than they would fetch here.

“A couple sells their home, moves down here and one, or both, get a part-time job,” she said. “They are semi-retired and are happy.”

Over the last couple years sales of townhomes have jumped by about 50 per cent, estimates Klundert, whose company’s developments include Coopers Mill in Belle River and Kimball Estates in Essex.

“I think it will last,” Klundert said. “It’s an aging population for one. I saw somewhere that by 2020 you might have 60 per cent of the population 55 or older. You can see where (housing) is heading.”

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