Choosing a Community

How master-planned communities are designed to offer diverse housing options, from entry-level to empty-nester

It seems more Nova Scotians are looking for the ability to transition from a townhouse they’ll buy as a young adult, to a large single-family home they’ll purchase when they have children, to a cozy bungalow or condo they’ll retire in – all without leaving the community.

Today’s master-planned communities are designed to give homeowners the flexibility to upgrade or downsize their home without sacrificing the neighbourhood they’ve grown to love.

“Where people choose to live is really a lifestyle choice based on their own family’s needs,” says Stephanie Palmer, Director of Marketing for Armco Communities – developers of master-planned communities such as Governor’s Brook, Sunset Ridge, Twin Brooks and Kingswood North.

“Younger families are going to want to be close to schools, parks, and recreation facilities – which you will find in a master-planned development,” says Palmer. “For an empty nester, it might be more important to have a smaller yard to care for, and have amenities close to home.”

She says mixed-density communities have proven to be very popular, because of the mix of homes and lot sizes.

“Mixed-density communities have single-family homes of various sizes, as well as semi-detached homes, townhouses, and even apartments,” says Palmer. “No matter what you require, a mixed-density community is going to suit a broader base of customers.”

Palmer says these communities are often planned to have amenities located directly in the subdivision, which is appealing to today’s busy families.

Country-style lots that are an acre or two are popular with families who have young children and pets. Palmer says country communities provide more space for active families, but are still within easy access to amenities.

Christina Baker is a Sales & Marketing Associate with Clayton Developments Limited – developers of The Parks of West Bedford, The Ravines, and Russell Lake West. She also finds most homebuyers are looking for a community that will
provide plenty of opportunities to get some fresh air.

“A lot of people really want to have green space and some outdoor living components – whether it’s in their backyard, or in parks and walking trails that are readily accessible to them,” says Baker.

Since master-planned communities are typically built in phases, Baker says sometimes a homeowner who purchases at the front-end of construction will move into a new phase once it’s completed.

“Often, we see people moving into larger homes as their family grows. But right now, in several of our communities, we’re seeing people who moved in at the start of the development now downsizing to a smaller home for their retirement,” says Baker.

When you’re deciding which community is right for you, Baker says it’s essential to work with a good realtor.

“They’ll look out for your best interest, and work on your behalf as an advocate,” says Baker. “This is a very big financial decision, so it’s important to involve a professional who’s working for you.”

Palmer agrees that the decision requires some homework – and serious consideration.

“Do your research, think carefully about what you need, and speak with different developers,” says Palmer. “If you tell us what your needs and wants are, we can point you in the direction of the community that will suit your lifestyle.”

Heather Laura Clarke

Heather Laura Clarke

Heather Laura Clarke is a freelance journalist whose work regularly appears in many Atlantic Canadian newspapers and magazines, including The Chronicle Herald, Metro, Hub Now, Business Voice, Dugger's, Progress, East Coast Living, Bedford Magazine, and Southender Magazine. She also has several corporate clients.