Edmonton targets older neighbourhoods for new housing

More new homes are being built in Edmonton's older neighbourhoods, but the city remains a long way from its development target.
More Edmontonians are choosing to build new homes in established neighbourhoods 1:54

More new homes are being built in Edmonton's older neighbourhoods, but the city remains a long way from its development target.

The city wants 25 per cent of all new development to occur in older neighbourhoods by 2020.

According to the latest city housing reports, development in older neighbourhoods in 2011 is the highest in 10 years.

The reports also show development in new neighbourhoods was slightly lower in 2011 than 2010, although still comparable to the rapid growth seen over much of the last decade.

Infill housing in Edmonton is nowhere near its potential, said Trevor Hover, who has been designing and building infill houses in the city for two decades.

He believes older neighbourhoods could compete with the sprawling suburb developments in the new home market.

The solution, he says, is to lower the cost of building permits and property taxes and open the doors to garage and garden suites for rentals.

"It would be neat to see it condo-ized," he said. "If you go to places like San Francisco homes are touching each other. They seem to live perfectly happy...but there are four or five units on one piece of land...same as Vancouver."

While single-family homes remain attractive to buyers, the city will reach its 25 per cent goal by focusing on urban population hubs, said city planner Gord Jackson.

"These are developments associated with the downtown, new developments around LRT stations as well as the city centre airport lands that will be coming on," he said.

Some other highlights from the housing reports include:

  • The value of residential construction city wide in 2011 is up four per cent from 2010, in mature neighbourhoods up 16% from 2010.
  • 19% of all new dwelling units (single family homes as well as multi-family units) in 2011 were constructed in mature neighbourhoods. That’s an increase from 17% in 2010. The increase in development in mature areas approaches the target set in "The Way We Grow/Municipal Development Plan" that a minimum of 25% of dwelling units be built in mature areas and around LRT stations and transit centres.
  • New dwelling construction in mature neighbourhoods continues to follow a trend of more multi-family units than single-family units — 2011 saw a net loss of 30 single family units but a net gain of 1,095 multi-family units.