Dale Sheppard of Remax Camosun West Shore said those looking for a simple turnkey home or for those that value the built-in security of living in a townhome because they travel for work or pleasure

HOMEFINDER: West Shore townhomes fill important gap

Built-in security and simplicity push popularity of townhomes

Sometimes only a townhouse will do.

Like any real estate purchase, they can be a great investment when priced properly. And they may well be an ideal solution, not only for young families looking to get into the market, but for those who know exactly what they want.

“The advantage to the townhome is you have a low-maintenance yard, you pay a strata fee and you don’t have to worry about maintaining the property, because it is paid for by the complex,” said real estate agent Dale Sheppard, with ReMax Camosun West Shore. “If you want to have a turnkey operation, (or you) travel, you don’t have to worry about who is going to look after your house.”

One advantage to many townhomes, he said, is they have an almost built-in Block Watch-type neighbourhood, which can be a factor for those who frequently travel for work or pleasure. On top of peace of mind, insurance for the exterior is often covered by the strata fees, so there is less need to worry about damage or challenges outside the home.

There are also other perks Sheppard said. “Versus a condo, it’s an advantage because you generally have the parking right (next to) the unit itself as opposed to parking in a parkade,” he said. “And for the most part (they have) a small yard area, which is a good alternative, because (in a condo) normally you get a balcony or patio.”

The size of that yard can be both a plus and a minus depending on lifestyle, interests and needs. It can be a positive for those uninterested in maintaining a large garden, or having any garden at all, as well as people who don’t have time for landscaping their property. However, Sheppard said, there are potential challenges potential homebuyers need to be keenly aware of.

“The disadvantage is you are in a strata; you do have to abide by the rules and bylaws of the strata (corporation) and there is a monthly fee you have to pay.”

For some that can be a major challenge, he said, but “it depends on the person.”

Because townhouses are typically three or four bedrooms, compared to the typical condo at one or two bedrooms, they are a popular choice for younger first-time home buyers who either don’t want a detached home or can’t afford one yet.

Sheppard said seniors may also find a townhouse a good fit, especially rancher-style ground-level options without stairs.

They can allow seniors to maintain independence and perhaps enjoy a community atmosphere. Townhomes also offer a viable option for empty nesters looking to downsize after their children leave home.

alim@goldstreamgazette.com

Q: What does the West Shore’s townhouse market look like?

As of the first week of October, there weren’t as many townhomes available as some might expect said Dale Sheppard of Remax Camosun West Shore.

In Langford there were 37 townhouses available, the majority of which were in the downtown core of the city, with a few on Bear Mountain and in the Happy Valley area.

Prices of those townhouse properties on the market  ranged from $225,000 to $600,000, depending on size, age and location.

Colwood was next highest on the West Shore list with 18 advertised townhomes for sale in early October, not counting a handful placed in new developments that may or may not have their listings on the market yet.

Prices in Colwood fell between $275,000 and $689,000.

View Royal had nine available townhomes between $275,000 and $569,000. Neither Metchosin or Highlands had any townhomes for sale.

“The market for (townhouses) is slowly getting stronger in the West Shore,” Sheppard said. “It hasn’t picked up as much as Victoria has this year, but it is moving in a positive direction. Listing inventory is down across the board and sales are up.”

GREATER VICTORIA MARKET UPDATE » MONTH TO DATE OCT. 13/15  COURTESY VICTORIA REAL ESTATE BOARD

» 268 / 602 — NET UNCONDITIONAL SALES / TOTAL, October 2014

» 371 / 945 — NEW LISTINGS / TOTAL, October 2014

» 3,338 / 3,927 — ACTIVE RESIDENTIAL LISTINGS / TOTAL, October 2014

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