One of Canada's largest municipalities is soon to be home to the country's smallest condos. Balance, the latest project by developer Tien Sher, is a four-storey building with 56 micro suites, will be home to Canada's smallest condo at just 290 square feet.
Tien Sher has already built more than 420 homes in Surrey City Centre's Gateway District through their Quattro developments first three buildings. Balance will be located across the street from Quattro3, and a seven minute walk from the Gateway Skytrain Station on 108th Avenue.
"Real estate prices in the Lower Mainland are among the richest in North America. In cities like New York, Tokyo and Paris they found a solution - build smaller but build closer to amenities. We wanted to build suites that renters could afford to purchase - today," says Charan Sethi, president of Tien Sher. "With suites starting at $109,900, if you can afford the $6,000 down payment, and you make a salary of $17 per hour, we have a home for you."
60 per cent of the Balance suites are 305 square feet or smaller. All micro suites will contain five stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors and a balcony. The largest suite in the complex is a one bedroom at 653 square feet.
While prices are not finalized, Sethi indicates that the profit margin is "very tight" on this project to keep the homes affordable. "With mortgage-amortization periods capped at 25 years, coupled with the high cost of developable land in the Lower Mainland, micro suites are a sensible and cost-effective option for single people looking to purchase their first home," says Peter Simpson, president and CEO of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders' Association. "This is an idea I expect to see emulated throughout the region in the years ahead."
Surrey City Council will need to pass this project through three reviews this fall and then Tien Sher is expected to begin sales in January 2012. Young professionals, retail employees, single parents are among the anticipated buyers.
"Balance is unique. No suite comes with a parking stall, but they are available for purchase. A 2012 parking study we commissioned showed most purchasers will forego car ownership and its associated costs, in favor of an affordable home purchase," says Charan Sethi.