In a highly unusual move, a Chatham home building company is freezing its prices on new builds for 2022 and awarding 14 clients more than $1.1 million.
Maple City Homes partner and president Robb Nelson announced the move Monday, explaining that the company cares about “building community” — not just profits.
Chatham-Kent’s record housing market — like the rest of Ontario — is keeping new buyers out of the market due to soaring prices.
The folks at Maple City Homes have decided to act.
“Somebody had to step in and say enough is enough,” Nelson said. “We decided to do it.
“We know we can make more profit, but we don’t think that’s fair,” he said. “That’s what’s good for the housing industry.”
Previously, the company sold 14 homes for $680,000 each. These customers all receive an $80,000 rebate, an unprecedented gesture in today’s market.
“We didn’t think it was a fair price,” Nelson said.
The price of an average build at Maple City Homes is $599,000 and will remain so for the rest of the year.
The lower price allows more people to enter the market, Nelson said, while allowing Maple City to grow.
“We can build three times as many at this price,” he added.
Nelson said the price freeze and reduction comes even though construction costs have doubled over the past three years.
Citing “social responsibility,” Nelson said the company is committed to ESG principles – defined as environmental, social and governance.
Noting that MCH understands the social issues that arise from the inability to afford a home,
the company is proud to donate a portion of the sale of each home to various local charities through Because We Care Chatham-Kent. The hospital’s new withdrawal management center was the latest to benefit, receiving $157,000 in funding.
Nelson said he hoped the idea of price freezes and cuts would catch on.
“We hope to see this concept spread to other communities – it’s the right thing to do,” he added.
According to Nelson, homes built by MCH are the most energy-efficient homes in Ontario, as monitored by A&J Energy Consultants.
The Children’s has 47 local businesses that help build their homes, which contributes to the economic engine of the area, providing a significant number of well-paying jobs in the trades.
Mayor Darrin Canniff called the action by Maple City Homes “way crazy.”
“It’s very good for our community and will allow new buyers to enter the market,” Canniff explained.
“The cap is capped, which is great,” he said, noting that it will help keep Chatham-Kent housing in the “affordable range.”
Canniff said many people have asked when runaway house prices will cool, and MCH’s move is part of the answer.
“I have to give them the floor for stepping up and doing something,” Canniff added. “Chatham-Kent is growing and it will help more people move to Chatham-Kent.
In the first four months of 2022, the average home price in Chatham-Kent was $505,000, according to statistics from the Chatham-Kent Association of Realtors.
Since its inception, Maple City Homes has built over 300 homes locally. It has another 150 planned for 2023. In 2024, it will add more than 300 units as it begins building condominiums as well as single-family homes.
Nelson and his wife Kim, both of Family Lending, along with Dr. Bruce Warwick, Gilles Michaud and Trevor Mailloux, own The Children’s.
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