Renx Homes News Canada (RENXHOMES)
c/o Squall Inc.
P.O. Box 1484, Stn. B
Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 5P6
Canada: 1-855-569-6300

Parkbridge near sellout at Solstice land-lease community in B.C.

Okanagan Valley development offers more affordable home ownership option for buyers aged 55+

Parkbridge's Solstice community aims to broaden homeownership for retirees through its land lease model, where the buyer owns the house but not the land beneath it. (Courtesy Talk Shop Media)

Parkbridge Lifestyle Communities is putting the final touches on its latest land-lease community, the 160-home Solstice at Tower Ranch in B.C.'s scenic and rapidly growing Okanagan Valley.

The Collingwood, Ont.-based investor, developer and owner-operator of land-lease communities is finding the ownership model increasingly popular with retirees and others seeking more affordable home ownership options.

Solstice is one part of the larger Tower Ranch master-planned community which has been under development for a decade. The land for Solstice was acquired in 2013 and development commenced in 2014, according to Lachlan Maclean, senior vice-president of property operations at Parkbridge.

The company, founded in 1998, has 59 residential communities and 32 RV resorts across Canada under this model, according to its website. The customer owns the home, RV or resort residence but not the land the unit sits on. Instead, Parkbridge leases the land to the homeowner and provides services to the residents.

Such an ownership format is well-suited for people aged 55 and over, when downsizing typically takes place and funds can be limited, he said.

“The purchase price is lower, so it makes homeownership more attainable and affordable,” Maclean told RENX Homes.

A retirement community in Okanagan

Set in B.C.’s wine country, Solstice's 160-home retirement community of mainly single-family detached homes is built onto a slope, and includes a small number of stacked townhomes.

Housing comes in four forms:

  • Leo II, two-bedroom bungalows measuring up to 1,861 square feet, starting at $617,000;
  • Halo, three-bedroom units of 1,833 square feet, starting from $627,900;
  • the three-bedroom Andromeda detached homes starting from $693,900 and measuring 1,837 square feet; and
  • Cassiopeia, three-bedroom, three-storey townhomes from 1,823 square feet to 1,829 square feet, starting from $588,900.

Construction is complete, with approximately 135 units occupied, Maclean said. With roads and servicing also complete, Solstice is in its final sales release of homes: “No one waiting for basements to be poured,” he quipped.

Homes at Solstice offer “phenomenal views” of the Okanagan Valley, Maclean said, as the community is located on the west side of Tower Ranch Mountain. Being on an elevated locale means transit options are limited, so Maclean said Solstice is mainly a car-driven community.

The nearby Highway 97 can take people into Kelowna in a few minutes, or access Lake Country, Vernon and other communities to the north.

Solstice has drawn interest from a cross-section of local buyers, as well as clients from Calgary, Vancouver and Ontario, he added.

To accommodate its client base of mainly retirees, a clubhouse associated with Tower Ranch Golf Course is nearby, as well as a gym, ski resort, yacht club, an activity room and 105 walking trails in the area.

As Solstice is designed as a retirement community, Parkbridge has also tailored its land-lease offerings to their financial needs, Maclean said.

How land lease can match retirees’ needs

Under the land-lease model the homeowner rents the land, with buyers having the option of 49- or 99-year leases on the property. The homeowner pays a monthly rent, maintenance fees and other fees, while avoiding property transfer tax on a 49-year lease.

The home ownership model can be attractive for retirees because of high housing costs across much of Canada, Maclean added. It frees up some equity from retirement savings or from the sale of a larger dwelling, which can be important if retirees want to travel or are living on fixed incomes.

“A property like Solstice is proving popular with people downsizing, looking for that next stage in life, but they don’t have to tie up all of their retirement funds in dirt,” Maclean said.

Customers can purchase housing at Solstice with financing options provided by lenders familiar with land-lease arrangements, he said. 

Parkbridge’s other communities

The land-lease model also can help lower the cost of first-time home ownership by reducing the down payment required and the carrying costs of a mortgage compared to housing which includes land ownership, he said. This could assist potential buyers at some of its other communities.

Parkbridge is also developing Lakehaven in Innisfil, Ont., a community with land lease offered through a joint venture with Mattamy Homes.

Described as a hybrid development that is the first of its kind in Canada, it will feature both freehold single-family and land-lease townhomes, Maclean said. A range of pricing and housing types will be offered depending on the level of affordability desired by purchasers.

Sales for Lakehaven opened in May 2023 and occupancy has begun in the community, he added.

Parkbridge also has The Bluffs at Huron in Goderich, Ont. Upon completion, it will be a lakefront community of 460 single-family bungalows with a community recreation hall, an indoor swimming pool, activity rooms and other amenities.

So far, 380 units have been sold.

The company is seeking more development properties in Ontario, Maclean said.

Industry Events