Could A Condo Work For You?
Monday Nov 26th, 2018
Are you at that stage where you want to downsize or "rightsize"? Trying to get into the market as a first time homebuyer? Or maybe you're an investor looking to diversify your portfolio? Either way, it's possible a condo could be the right fit. Traditionally, condos have gotten a bad rap. They come with a set of rules and regulations, have monthly condo fees and have historically enjoyed less appreciation over time than detached homes. Despite these drawbacks, lets have a look at the positive elements of condo living and why many people are opening up the possibility of condo life.
A number of trends have led to the rise of condo ownership which fuels more condo development. Firstly, many first time homebuyers are unable to afford a detached home or a freehold townhouse in the current market. The climate has gotten so heated over the past few years which has made condo ownership more appealing as young buyers seek entry into the market. Second, many baby boomers are selling their large family homes as they seek to "rightsize" and often cannot afford a bungalow or bungaloft. Finally, we are seeing an influx of investors snapping up condos as the rental market across the GTA is tight and they have proven a good investment.
“The condominium lifestyle continues to resonate with buyers in the Greater Toronto Area for a number of reasons. While the affordability aspect is first and foremost, we’ve also a seen strong investor presence in recent years,”
- Christopher Alexander - RE/MAX of Ontario-Atlantic Canada Region executive VP and regional director
In October 2018, Oakville saw 163 residential resale transactions. Of these, 45 were condos, or roughly 28%. This is not insiginificant. According to a new report by RE/MAX of Ontario-Atlantic Canada Region, prices of freehold properties, including single-detached, semi-detached, attached/row/townhouse, and linked townhomes are all down year-over-year. The average price of a condo unit in Toronto, however, has increased by almost 8% year-to-date reaching $551,761. This vertical growth, with resale condominium apartments and townhomes in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) now represents almost 37% of total residential sales on the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) and this segment has been trending upward since 2013, when the transfer of condominiums represented 30% of total sales.
Apart from affordability, why are people choosing condos? If we talk about low and highrise buildings, these condos are basically bungalows in the sky. With land becomming more and more scarce, the cost to build a custom bungalow is beyond the means of many and finding a resale bungalow or bungaloft can be rather difficult. These units offer a variety of floorplans, are found in a variety of locations, have a wide range of amentities, and have proven to be solid investments. Many condo buildings cater to specific groups. The Ennisclare buildings in Oakville's Bronte neighbourhood appeal to older residents and offer larger suites and incredible amentities while Toronto's Liberty Village buildings are more suited for young urban professionals working in media, high-tech and design businesses who live and work in the urban core. Common areas like pools and recreation rooms offer opportunities to socialize with neighbours and help develop a sense of community.
One of the biggest draws of condo ownership for many, is freedom from all the maintenance required with a detached home. For single, busy professionals short on time or elderly residents who may no longer want the responsiblity, building maintenance is covered by your monthly condo fee. No more shovelling snow, cutting the lawn or hauling garbage cans to and from the curb. This affords residents the ability to turn the key and go without worry. Those who travel frequently, work many hours, or spend the winter down south find this particularly appealing. A portion of those condo fees also go into a reserve fund. With a well managed building, this fund covers major repairs like replacing windows and roofing without additional costs to owners. Even when the reserve fund falls short, you’re not in it alone — a “special assessment” will be done and costs will be shared equally among owners.
Often condo prices vary depending on location. The Stride Condo in Mississauga's Port Credit area is just north of the lake and offers suites starting in the high $400's. If, however, you want to be on the lake, downtown Burlington's Bridgewater Condo offers direct lakefront from about $1.1M. There are condos to suit every buyer in every price range popping up everywhere. If you’re after a prime spot in a major city — like downtown Toronto — condos may be the only practical option. What you lose in space and higher condo fees, you gain with easy access to work, dining, activities, public transportation and other amenities. Condos in all price points offer security, whether in the form of a concierge at the door or a buzzer board. This prevents unknown people from entering the building and helps ensure the saftey and security of all residents.
The amenities at many condos may make you feel like you're at a resort. It is not uncommon to find theatre rooms, party rooms with entertaining space and kitchens, libraries, fitness centres, swimming pools, golf simulators, wine storage and more. Downsizing, "rightsizing" or moving into a smaller space is made easier with so many amenities at your fingertips. These luxuries are not often enjoyed in a detached home and make the move to a condo a great option without sacrificing lifestyle. Another benefit to condo ownership as opposed to renting is that you own the space inside all the walls so you are free to decorate and renovate as you choose allowing you to truly customize the space and make it your own. When buying a new construction condo, often you get to select all your finishes and have many upgrade options. It has the feel of designing your own custom home.
If you would like information on resale condos or on new construction, please send me an email or give me a call and lets chat!