New Home Developments: A Complete Buyers Guide

October 20, 2022

A custom built Cressman home

New home developments in British Columbia offer buyers the chance to get into some of the most spectacular communities in Canada and are a safe, recession proof investment choice to boot.

The list of new communities is vast and the process of buying new can seem daunting to some. We’re here to tell you it needn’t be!

Our complete buyers guide to new home developments in B.C. will help buyers make a better, more confident choice when building a new home.

Specifically, we’ll cover:

  • Dispelling the myths when it comes to buying new,
  • Compare the pros and cons of going new versus buying pre-owned, and
  • Introduce you to a new home development option for those looking to buy in the interior B.C. and outside the Greater Vancouver Area. 

We’ll begin by clearing up new home development myths. 

The 3 biggest myths about new home developments

Home buyers can shy away from choosing a spec or pre-designed property because they think buying one will be more hassle than it’s worth. We’re here to tell them that’s not true!

Building a house is a major life decision. With a little sleuthing and a look at the facts, though, you’ll find the major myths about homebuilding are simply untrue. 

Here are the 3 biggest myths purchasers have about buying a new dwelling:

Myth #1: New builds come with a ton of headaches

Myth #2: Building from scratch is more difficult and time consuming 

Myth #3: New builds don’t offer the same value for money 

Up first: why new home builds are in fact worth the apparent trouble. 

Myth #1: New builds come with a ton of headaches

New builds can seem as painful as taking a hammer to your thumb when in fact their design and construction are generally well-thought out and organized.

Even the most adventurous real estate buyer can be turned off by the thought of having to deal with the following:

  • High demand and competition for building lots,
  • Construction delays,
  • Unavailable materials and broken supply chains (the COVID-19 pandemic certainly didn’t help douse this consumer fear),  
  • Labour shortages, 
  • Blown budgets (when it comes to add-ons or customizations, or the rising costs of building materials), 
  • Poor communication with the builder, 
  • Deficiencies that show up on final walk-through and after the possession date, and that never get fixed,
  • Etc., etc. etc.

The reality though is much different. Here’s why.

How to choose the right new home developer for your build

Because new home developments are pre-planned by the builder, many of the concerns mentioned earlier will have been mitigated way before you ever say the word, “SOLD!”

Our biggest tip to avoid headaches associated with buying new: Choose a reputable new home developer!

Who you choose to work with can mean the difference between a process that’s worry free and one that’s as grating as nails on a chalkboard. 

Here are 5 way to know you’re dealing with a trustworthy builder:

  1. They have a strong track record.

Find out where they’ve built before, how long they’ve been a developer, and whether or not their homes have had issues in the past. You want to make sure their previous work is high quality. 

If possible, drive around their other residential communities to get a feel for their developments. Do their homes ​​scream superior craftsmanship and meticulous or mass-produced and inattention to detail? It should go without saying you want to pick the former. 

  1. They’ll happily answer your questions.

Whether you have questions about buying a new home, their building and selling process, or how they work with homeowners, a developer should be open to answer any and all of your questions. 

  1. They’ll discuss new home warranty coverage. 

A new home’s warranty protects buyers against building deficiencies. This is a huge perk that isn’t available to those who buy a pre-existing property. Even though all new home builders are required by law to offer a new home warranty, reputable builders will openly discuss new home insurance coverage. 

  1. They’ve received good reviews and can provide references.

It should be easy to provide you with a list of previous home buyers when you ask for them. If a builder dodges the request, this is a red flag. 

Now that we’ve demystified the first new home myth, we’ll turn our attention toward dispelling the next new one: that going new is a harder, more drawn-out process. 

Here’s why that isn’t necessarily true. 

Myth #2: Building from scratch is more difficult and time-consuming

There’s a strongly held belief by some that constructing a pre-designed or spec home is more difficult than purchasing a pre-existing one. While this may seem like the case when you consider you’re starting from scratch, when you dig deeper into the argument, you find that’s simply not the case. 

Here are some facts about pre-designed versus resale homes:

  • Many of the decisions have already been made for you

Unlike a full-custom home, the design, lot, and specs have already been determined for a pre-designed property. Unless you have customizations or changes you’d like to make, which are limited depending on the builder, we’re ready to build as soon as you sign a buyers contract. 

  • Spec homes and pre-designed properties can be move-in ready, or close to it

Depending on when you approach a builder, they may have already started building the property you’re interested in. If you like the spec home, then it’s a case of only having to wait until it’s no longer needed to market the rest of the new home development before you can move in. 

  • Buying a resale home can be as time consuming

When you consider how long it can take to search for a home, make an offer, secure financing, and having to navigate bidding wars (if you’re in a competitive market) and suddenly buying an older property doesn’t seem so quick anymore. 

Myth #3: New builds don’t offer the same value for money 

The impression of many is that a luxury spec or pre-designed house costs a lot of money. 

New home buyers can’t help but wonder, “Would I be getting value for my money if I bought new?” It’s a good question, one we’ll address in this section. 

Some factors to consider:

  • Over the long-term, real estate appreciates

It’s rare that a new property won’t go up in value as time goes on. When you buy on the ground floor, no pun intended, you can be fairly confident your investment will grow over time. 

  • Existing homes are at the mercy of a sometimes erratic real estate market 

Remember the first two quarters of 2022? Houses were going for over asking only to see their value drop a couple of months later as markets adjusted. If you bought high in April you were probably regretting your purchase price come June. 

This isn’t the case with new builds. The price of going new will go up over time, yes, but in a more consistent, gradual fashion. World-altering events like the pandemic notwithstanding. 

  • The purchase of an old homes is intricately linked to supply and demand

At any given time, buyers are at the mercy of how many properties there are for sale on the market. This number fluctuates depending on factors like time of year and economic pressures. 

When you compare what’s on the market for new and pre-existing dwellings on the market across Canada, what do we find? We went digging for answers.

New vs old: What’s currently available on the housing market?

Take the current real estate market.

The number of active listings nationwide on as of March 2022 was down a whopping 62.3% from only two years prior! That meant that for every five homes you were able to purchase in March 2020, you were limited to two in March 2022. 

Those aren’t encouraging statistics for those wishing to buy a pre-existing property. 

In comparison, new home starts increased by over 48% between Q2 2020 and Q2 2022 thanks in huge part to the pandemic. 

Where numbers of new builds are concerned, where a typical year normally saw 200,000 new households a year—including single-family homes, condos, and multi-family dwellings—we can expect to see that number increase to 240,000 by 2024.

These unprecedented construction levels are taking place because existing house prices continue to spiral upward making them unaffordable for many. 

How much will you save by going new instead of old? We found the answer. 

How much does it cost to build a house in Canada compared to the cost of an existing one?

According to Altus Group’s 2022 Canadian Cost Guide, the average cost of building a single-family home in Canada ranges from $100 to $275 per square foot, depending on location. In Metro Vancouver, that range narrows to $150-275 and jumps even higher to a staggering $450-1,135 per square foot when you go fully custom.  

When you compare this to resale homes, you’re better off building new.

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, the price of a pre-existing dwelling in Canada jumped 43% in the past two years with the cost of a property in Vancouver averaging $1,200 per square foot!

In summary, it’ll generally cost you more to buy an existing home in Canada today than to build a new one.

How to find the best of the best in new home developments in B.C.: 5 Crucial Steps 

Huzzah! We’ve dispelled the myths of new home developments. Congratulations on taking the time to learn about building in a new residential community.

Now, with the sheer number of new home developments to choose from in BC, how does one pick? Easy. We have a simple 5-step process you can follow to find the perfect developer:

Step #1: Get pre-approved for a mortgage

It doesn’t matter if you fall in love with a new home development. If you aren’t pre-approved for a mortgage you dream to live there will remain, well, a dream.

Talk to your mortgage broker in advance of going too far down the road of new home possession. This will give you an idea of what you can afford and narrow down your choices. 

Step #2: Choose where you want to live, then mull over the location’s pros and cons

Ask yourself:

  • Where would you most like to live as one of the original owners, a community you can grow into and leave your mark on?
  • If the new development neighborhood I choose requires me to commute longer to work, will I be ok with that adjustment?
  • Are you ok with amenities that are still in the works and will be developed over time?

Step #3: Research new home developers and visit communities

Book meetings with the developers of your favourite communities and interview them. 

  • Make sure they not only have answers to the question you have for them but make sure they’re a good fit personality-wise. Like a good hair-dresser, you’ll want to trust your home builder explicitly. You’ll also be spending a lot of time together so make sure you get along from the beginning. 
  • Visit your chosen communities to see how they feel. Even better if the builder tours you around personality. They can answer your questions in real-time as you think of them.
  • Narrow down your list of builders and go from there. 

Step #4: Understand what’s included & what’s not and what can be changed & what can’t

Once you’ve picked your developer, it’s time to discuss the finer details.

  • Have a good idea of what you want going in. What are your non-negotiables? What are you willing to give up?
  • Visit the showhome or spec house. Make sure you understand exactly what your will and won’t include compared to it.
  • What options are available for home customizations, upgrades, and add-ons, if any?
  • Does the builder offer up a list of customization packages or options?
  • Can you change design details such as light fixtures or tile colour? 
  • What does the possession date look like?

Step #5: Inspect the new home, seal the deal & move in!

If a spec home or pre-designed luxury home is already built by the time you purchase it, it is completely acceptable and recommended that you get it inspected before you take possession.

  • Reputable home developers will do a walk-through with you on possession day to inspect for any deficiencies they’ll have to fix as part of the deal
  • It’s also perfectly acceptable to hire a third-party home inspector of your choice to inspect the property. 

Once you’re confident the house has been constructed to your standards and all the deficiencies have been take into account, you can close the deal and move in!

New Home Developments: A Sound Investment For Home Buyers

We hope our buyers’ guide to new home developments in B.C. has inspired you to go new with your next property purchase. 

If it has, and if you’re looking for new home developments in B.C.? Look no further than the Fraser Valley. Tobiano is the region’s best-kept secret when it comes to contemporary builds.

Our luxury pre-designed homes in southwestern British Columbia will give you the benefit of new, some of the personalization options of custom, and the affordability of spec.

From our full-sized properties to our newer, more economical duplex building lots, Tobiano offers you several options to buy into a new home development in interior B.C.

Contact us today to visit the new home development of Tobiano and its newest addition, Latitude. We’ll show you around, answer your questions about our building process, and discuss your options. 

Book a tour of Tobiano—you’ll never regret going new.

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