December 14, 2011

Rushing Home to Amberleigh

Buyers quick to embrace properties at Morningstar’s Amberleigh


The afternoon of Nov. 11, the day before Morningstar Homes released its first homes for sale at the Amberleigh project in Coquitlam, buyers were already lining up outside. Six groups camped out overnight. The next morning, all the homes were snapped up within hours. Morningstar released more, which also sold that day. “It’s the first time I’ve had to put out lot signs for my second release with sold signs already on them because they were selling faster than I could get the signs out,” says Deborah Calahan, vice-president of sales and marketing at Morningstar.

The following weekend, Morningstar released more homes, which once again sold out. More go on sale this weekend. Calahan attributes buyers’ response to a combination of the reputation of Morningstar’s previous communities in the Burke Mountain area and pricing.  Amberleigh’s tag line is Affordability and Livability, and “I really feel that we nailed it,” she says. “If you compare prices in the area, resales are in the high fives, low sixes, and that’s for old homes.”

For the Amberleigh project, Morningstar has three house plans, each with its own show home. Shown above is the Hillcrest home. ‘We give you a model of each type of home that we are going to build in your neighbourhood, so that you get to see it, you get to walk through it, you get to feel it,’ says Morningstar’s Deborah Calahan.

She says newer homes in the area are selling in the $800,000 range and up, adding that there’s a void in the $600,000 to $700,000 range for new homes. As for livability, Morningstar polled owners of its previous homes to find out what they especially liked and what they would change. Keepers included window seats, walk-in closets and large ensuites in the master bedrooms, trough sinks in the kitchen and linear gas fireplaces.

New features introduced at Amberleigh include larger secondary bedrooms, pantries and glass-panelled stairwells. There are three house plans at Amberleigh and a complete show home in each style. “We give you a model of each type of home that we are going to build in your neighbourhood, so that you get to see it, you get to walk through it, you get to feel it,” says Calahan. “You’re not looking at a plan trying to imagine what it might be like.”

There are 67 single-family homes in the Amberleigh project in Coquitlam. Shown here, the Meadow View show home.

Buyers don’t even have to imagine what the features and options might look like as they are all incorporated into the display homes. “We do not use a feature sheet as we let our homes do the talking,” says Calahan. “Walk through any of our show homes to see for yourself what is included.” All three models contain the same rooms, but the configuration varies.

On the main floor, there is a foyer, great room, dining room, kitchen, office, powder room and mud room. Upstairs are three bedrooms, ensuite with tub and glass shower, bathroom and laundry room. Each home has a finished basement with a recreation room, bedroom, study, bathroom and storage.

Optional upgrades include a wet bar (the deluxe basement) or a kitchen to make it into a suite. A back deck, fenced backyard, double garage and parking pad are standard. The details add to the livability. Because the houses are detached, there are windows on all sides so every room, even in the basement, has natural light. Wall niches, different in each style of home, add character and display space.

The Ellsworth show home at Amberleigh, like all the show homes, has a back deck and double garage. If they choose, buyers can have some of the finishes in one type of home installed in another.

There are four colour schemes for finishes, plus a show home paint option for wall colours. Features are not restricted to the style of home in which they are displayed, but are available for any home. For example, buyers can choose the Ellsworth model home, but specify the glass stair rails shown in the Meadow View home or the white Shaker-style kitchen cabinets and finishes shown in the Hillcrest home.

Morningstar’s philosophy is to make home-buying easy, says Calahan. “I find in today’s fast-paced life, most people would like the experts to already to have done their work. We try to make it as pain-free and effortless as possible for everyone and a really happy experience.” Prices are fixed for both standard homes and options.

Previous buyers indicate that their experience was indeed a happy one and one they would like to experience again, says Calahan. People who own homes in Belmont, a Morningstar community up the street, are thinking of buying in Amberleigh, and Morningstar has been getting referrals from friends and family.

Because of the earlier Belmont homes already in place —Morningstar’s Belmont Classic and Belmont Village, and Polygon’s Belmont Walk — Amberleigh is joining an established neighbourhood. The street’s trees have matured, and there are people out walking their dogs. A retail village area is planned for the intersection of Coast Meridien and David Avenue. Special to The Sun

Project location: Coquitlam Project size: 67 single-family homes
Residence size: 3 — 5 bedrooms; 3,010 — 3,096 sq. ft.
Prices: high $600,000s
Developer: Morningstar Homes
Architect: Frederick T. Sales
Interior Design: Creative Design
Works Sales Centre: 3374 Highland Dr., Coquitlam
Hours: Noon — 6 p.m., Sat — Thurs
Telephone: 604-464-4440
Occupancy: Spring 2012

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