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High interest in Banff's newest affordable housing project sparks lottery

“The Aster is already so highly sought out because of the opportunity to purchase at entry-level in Banff, which we know doesn’t happen often,” said Banff Mayor Corrie DiManno.
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The Banff Hockey House, was demolished to make way for a new affordable housing development, The Aster. EVAN BUHLER RMO PHOTO

BANFF – The sale of new below-market homes near downtown Banff will be determined through a lottery given the high interest in homeownership within the tourist town community.

The Banff Housing Corporation (BHC) has opened up the application process for the 33 units being built as part of the $13.2 million Aster condominium complex on the 300 block of Banff Avenue.

With more than 400 people registering their interest with BHC in purchasing a one-, two- or three-bedroom unit, Town of Banff officials say that means sales will be determined through a lottery.

Banff Mayor Corrie DiManno said she is thrilled by this entry-level homeownership opportunity, noting priority will be given to first-time home buyers.

“The Aster is already so highly sought out because of the opportunity to purchase at entry-level in Banff, which we know doesn’t happen often,” she said.

“I’m especially proud that priority will be given to first-time homeowners, meaning that residents who have been wanting to own in Banff will have a real chance with these below-market value units.”

Construction of the complex, which includes a central courtyard and rooftop patio, is underway and expected to be completed by summer 2022. Each dwellings’ sale price is restricted to the cost of construction, making them well below market value.

Based on information on the municipality’s website, homes range in price from $357,955 for a 558-square-foot one-bedroom unit on the lower end to $556,818 for a 1,226 sq. ft. three-bedroom loft and den on the higher end.

Monthly condo fees for a one-bedroom will vary from an estimated $275 to $325 on the low end, while monthly fees for a three-bedroom loft and den unit will be somewhere in the range of $510 to $560.

Sales of the condos are restricted to current residents of Banff who meet Parks Canada’s strict need-to-reside eligibility criteria for Banff National Park.

People who qualify after submitting an application will be entered in the lottery in mid January 2022. The lottery will place applicants in numerical order for purchasing a dwelling until all units are sold.

“It’s going to be a beautiful and modern place to live and I’m genuinely thrilled to see the Aster coming to fruition,” said Mayor DiManno.

Named The Aster after a perennial wildflower found in Banff National Park, the development is part of Banff’s housing strategy to ensure a robust range of housing options so people who work in Banff are able to live in Banff.

The affordable housing project is being developed under the price-restricted model, which means the BHC owns a percentage of the home while the homeowners pay for and own the rest.

Future resale of these properties is tied to a maximum increased value of two per cent per year, compounded annually. The price restriction is tied to the amount the buyer paid for the unit when the property was originally sold.

To make way for this project, BHC purchased lots at 338-340 Banff Avenue in 2013 for $1.3 million and then council approved a bylaw in 2020 so the Town could borrow $1.3 million to buy another lot that became available at 342 Banff Avenue.

Banff’s current housing shortfall is estimated to be approximately 723 units.