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First-time homebuyers flock to a car-free lifestyle at Sparrow by Abstract Developments

An aerial view depicting the future location of Sparrow, on Hillside Avenue at Cook Street, in the City of Victoria's Oaklands neighbourhood. Sparrow will rise to six-storeys with 49 residences.  Abstract Developments

First-time homebuyers flock to a car-free lifestyle at Sparrow by Abstract Developments
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Sparrow, a six-storey condominium development by Victoria-based developer Abstract, joins a growing list of new projects that are taking advantage of the City of Victoria's expanding cycling network, and successfully attracting first-time homebuyers with the appeal of a car-free lifestyle. 
Recent purchaser Nathan Farquharson discovered Sparrow as part of his search for a home in the Oaklands Neighbourhood last fall. Farquharson, 33, was born and raised in Victoria. He graduated from Ryerson University before embarking on his career in large-scale event production, including work on projects such as the Vancouver Olympics, Pan American Games and Expo events. 
Attracted to Sparrow's established neighbourhood setting, close to multiple groups of friends, and driven by a sense of urgency to get into the market, Farquharson determined early on in his search that Oaklands was the neighbourhood where he wanted to purchase. After looking at options in the area he realized that he was likely priced out of a single-family home, which led him on a search for condominium options.
Currently working on-contract in Dubai, UAE, Farquharson connected with the sales team online and made an appointment to view the homes at Sparrow over a video call the following weekend. Working with Abstract’s sales manager, Sarah Henderson, he quickly found a one-bedroom home, completing the entire purchase process over video and email from overseas. Farquharson plans to return to Victoria next year, in advance of the completion of his new home. 
A virtual purchase at Abstract Development's Sparrow project.
Nathan Farquharson, a purchaser at Abstract Development's Sparrow project, tours the Sparrow presentation centre's building model with sales manager Sarah Henderson.  Abstract Developments
“My primary mode of getting around in Victoria has almost always been by bicycle. I have a 1980’s Apollo Super Sport sitting in my parents’ garage, when I move back, I’ll likely give it an overhaul,” Farquharson said. "With the building’s central location at the top of a hill, and a bus stop right outside the front door, I plan to walk, cycle and take the bus to get around,” he added, speaking to his 500-plus square foot one-bedroom, one-bathroom home without a parking space.
After considering several plans, Farquharson selected a suite with a spacious balcony, providing him with an outdoor space without the maintenance of a single-family home.
"After living in an apartment for the last year, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve changed my perspective on what I want in a home," he said. "For me, this purchase represents finding comfort in a smaller space, and in a neighbourhood that you really like, and making that neighbourhood a place you can explore. In Oaklands, it’s easy to discover something new each time you go out."
A virtual purchase at Abstract Development's Sparrow project.
Nathan Farquharson touring the Sparrow presentation centre virtually. Farquharson purchased a home at Sparrow from Dubai, UAE, where he is currently employed.   Abstract Developments
Sparrow’s Oaklands Neighbourhood location has made it a desirable option for a range of homebuyers, offering an established residential setting close to amenities outside of the downtown core. The project was designed to encourage a car-free lifestyle, taking advantage of a location on major transit routes, as well as steps from future AAA cycling corridors at Kings and Haultain, and Fifth and Graham. For cyclists, Sparrow offers a dedicated bike parking and maintenance area on the ground floor with easy street access, along with two shared cargo bikes for exclusive use by residents. For those who still need access to a car, the building offers a Modo Car on-site, and includes a partner membership with each home. 
According to Sarah Henderson, over the last year the sales manager has seen a steady rise in interest for homes without a parking space, alongside a demand for building amenities like a Modo Car Share and cycling-friendly features.
"Increasingly, people are recognizing the ease and simplicity a car-free lifestyle offers, not to mention the cost savings," Henderson said. "In Nathan’s case, the choice was obvious: purchase a brand-new home in a central neighbourhood he loves and eliminate the need for parking." 
After a successful sales launch late last summer, Sparrow is currently over 70% sold. A broad range of studio-to-two-bedroom homes are still available with pricing starting in the low $300,000’s. For first-time homebuyers, Abstract has partnered with BC Housing to offer a 5% down payment option on select homes. To learn more or book an appointment to tour the Sparrow presentation centre, located at 1967 Oak Bay Avenue, visit C
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