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Move-in date for The Aster housing development scheduled for late summer

“Three of the buyers currently are residents in Ti’nu and currently we’re sitting at 100 per cent of all the units sold, with a wait list.”

BANFF – Residents who have bought into the municipality’s $14.4 million Aster housing development could be moving in as early as the end of summer following a series of delays.

Mark Walker, vice-chair of the Banff Housing Corporation’s (BHC) board of directors, said the corporation’s main focus in the short-term is getting The Aster finished, with occupancy predicted to be late summer.

“I know there have been some delays due to labour and material shortages,” he said during the BHC’s annual shareholders meeting on June 12.

“The administration and BHC staff and contractors have been really dedicated to getting it finished as quickly as they can, while maintaining the level of quality.”

The Aster is a 33-unit apartment development on the 300 block of Banff Avenue, with units available for purchase by eligible Banff residents under a price-restricted model.

Floor plans and layouts include one, two and three bedrooms, 10 loft dwellings and two accessible units. There is also a central courtyard and rooftop patio as part of the development.

Prices ranged from the lower end of $357,955 for a 558-square-foot one-bedroom home to the higher end of $556,818 for a 1,226-square-foot place with a three-bedroom loft design.

Qualified applicants were entered into a random lottery, which placed them in numerical order for purchasing a unit until all were sold, with priority given to first-time home buyers.

Walker said the priority process led to 87 per cent of The Aster’s units being purchased by first-time home buyers.

“That was one of the goals of the project,” he said.

“Three of the buyers currently are residents in Ti’nu and currently we’re sitting at 100 per cent of all the units sold, with a waitlist.”

Mayor Corrie DiManno wanted to know how the waitlist of 70 people for The Aster would be dealt with when units come up for sale in future.

“I am curious how will this work moving into the future,” she said, questioning if it would be a separate list to BHC’s existing registered resale list.

Heather Bolt, BHC’s administrator, said the corporation is still working through what that would look like, but the names will be added to the registered resale list.

“The Aster will still have first-time home buyers’ priority for all future re-sells, so how to flush that out in terms of process, we’re still in that stage,” she said.

The municipality’s 131-unit Ti’nu affordable apartment complex at Coyote Lane is full, with a long waitlist indicating significant demand for these types of rental units.

“With Ti’nu, the overall occupancy for 2022 was 98.5 per cent, so very few units sitting open,” said Walker.

“Thirty-seven per cent of residents are original occupants from the building’s opening in 2017 … Ti’nu continues to be fully occupied with a substantial waitlist sitting at over 209 households.”

Meanwhile, Walker said home sales within the BHC portfolio remain flat, with only one sale in 2022.

“That is indicative of a very tight housing market with limited supply and not a lot of people moving out of their BHC homes,” he said.

The assessed values of the BHC’s equity share portfolio, which includes 161 units made up of row houses, duplexes, and single-family homes, has increased three per cent from $139.1 million in 2022 to $134.5 million in 2023.

As for the price-restricted model, which includes 22 homes, the assessed value increased two per cent to $12.7 million from $12.4 million. Once The Aster comes online, there will be a total of 55 price-restricted housing units.

The assessed value of the entire BHC portfolio has jumped to $151.8 million this year from $147 million in 2022.

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