May 17, 2015

Development Draws Young Buyers

Location, pricing among the attractions of Thurston Street in Burnaby

Any question about whether the Thurston Street new-home project in Burnaby is resonating with buyers can be answered with a glance at the numbers. The residences went on the market just weeks ago, and only 13 of the 57 homes remain for sale. Even the developer is surprised at how fast the homes have been snapped up since sales launched in February, says Greg Zayadi, vice-president of marketing and sales at Anthem Properties. Anthem’s stacked townhouse concept features both garden and walk-up homes, with some two-level townhouses overtop one-level homes with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. “You have one-and-a-half levels of underground concrete parkade, which allows us to do a three-storey structure above it,” Zayadi said.

“So you get this townhouse type of development, but without the attached garage. You end up with these interior courtyards, with a bit of green space, a nice outlook. It’s this medium between the condos we see everywhere and single-family homes.” The townhouses feature a powder room on the main floor and a full bathroom upstairs, accessible from the main bedroom and hall.

The garden homes are two-bed and two-bath, and open on to concrete patios.

“If you’re in the interior courtyard, you have concrete or paving stone deck,” Zayadi said. “On the other side, because those units are more elevated, you have more of a porch.”

Thurston Street also has some studio units, as well as some stand-alone townhouses with no homes underneath. These homes look out on the courtyards.

Young families like these homes, sales rep Catherine Liang says, because kids can run around out back without disturbing downstairs neighbours.

Zayadi says most of the buyers have been from Vancouver or Burnaby, and most are in their late 20s to mid-30s.


“Thirty per cent live in their parents’ house still, another 30 per cent are renting, and many are moving in from a smaller place,” he said. “Some have kids, some have a kid on the way. At the end of the day, it’s the location, price-point and product type that are making it sell this well.”

Finishings are of a good quality. “All we try to do is create something that’s well-thought out,” Zayadi said. “It’s thoughtful space planning with nice finishes.”

In the kitchen, you’ll find KitchenAid stainless steel appliances, a slide-out AEG hood fan, quartz countertops, a walk-in pantry and, in most homes, an island. The flooring is laminate, with carpet in bedrooms.

Walk-in closets are among the features, along with sizable laundry rooms.

“Because we’ve created a sixby-six space, we were able to put the washer and dryer side by side, rather than stacked. Now you can put a shelf above it.”

The project is at the western end of a cul-de-sac, next to a community garden. A SkyTrain station is a 10-minute walk away, in either direction. Central Park, Metrotown and other amenities are nearby. Thurston Street is the first in what Anthem is calling its Neighbourhood Series.

“These are in-fill sites, sites where you’re not going to be allowed to build large four-storey buildings or highrises, but in great neighbourhood locations,” he said. “This is really what we call the end-user product type, a market that, whether the economy is good or bad, always seems to have buyers. One of the reasons I think it’s going to continue to do well is because single-family home prices are outstripping anyone’s ability to afford them.”

Thurston Street is the first stacked townhome project for the developer, but not the last. Zayadi says Anthem has another on the go, Maplewood Place in North Vancouver.

“South Burnaby prices are over a million dollars for a house,” notes Zayadi. “A halfblock away from Thurston, a teardown home is $800,000. To spend $525,000, and get a two-bedroom, two-level, brand new home, right on Broadway and Kingsway, on the edge of Vancouver, in the west side of Burnaby, is a pretty great opportunity.”


Written for the Vancouver Sun by Shawn Conner