There’s little doubt Torbay is a town people want to move to, but it comes at a steep cost.
According to data compiled by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC), Torbay recorded the highest average price in the first-quarter of this year for new homes in the St. John’s area and adjacent communities, at $391,478.
Prices are rising all around, according to CMHC, a sure sign that space is at a premium when it comes to finding homes for commuters and recent retirees looking to live close to St. John’s.
“As fast as land is developed and homes are put up for sale, they’re gone,” said Torbay Mayor Bob Codner.
The average price cited by CMHC is over $100,000 more than prices in Conception Bay South ($284,456) and Mount Pearl ($268,356).
In the same quarter of 2009, the average price for a new home in Torbay was $354,333.
Annually, Torbay has averaged at least 100 new residential housing starts in recent years, according to the mayor. The 2006 Census found it was the second-fastest growing municipality in the province, trailing only Paradise.
Codner estimates there are now 7,000 residents in Torbay.
The area’s influx of young people is exemplified by the number of children looking to attend Holy Trinity Elementary, which opened last fall in Torbay. Codner said the school of 700 will require four portable classrooms this fall to accommodate more than 100 new kindergarten students.
The Eastern School District made plans earlier this year to seek funds from the provincial government to build a new grade 5-7 school for the communities of Flatrock, Pouch Cove, and Torbay. The provincial budget in April alluded to offering new capacity for the area’s education needs.
With the price of new homes so high, Torbay represents an enticing market for developers.
The municipality is preparing to make amendments to its municipal plan and development regulations that will give a pair of subdivisions the go-ahead to expand by 120 building lots.
A new road is being built north of Indian Meal Line, connecting to Nathaniel Drive and Peter’s Place for Phase 1 of a development project that has already netted 30 new lots for the growing community.
Phase 2 of that project will witness the development of a further 60-70 building lots, according to Brian Winter, development and planning officer for the Town of Torbay.
The amendments would also accommodate the expansion of the Forest Landing residential subdivision, creating an additional 60 building lots, according to Winter.
For both development measures to go forward, the town must first hear from residents at a public meeting scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Torbay Kinsmen Centre July 7.