Condo ownership is picking up speed across Canada. According to the 2016 census, nearly 1.9 million condominiums were occupied by Canadians in 2016. Between 2016 and today, you can bet that number has increased for a number of reasons.
In its most recent Housing Market Assessment and Outlook, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. warned of a continued “high degree of vulnerability in Canada’s housing market, fuelled by moderate overvaluation and price acceleration.”
While affordability plays a big part in condos’ rise in popularity, it’s not the only reason for their claim to fame.
Condos are seen everywhere from bustling urban centres to sleepy suburban pockets, but since we’re talking affordability (or lack thereof) let’s see where they fall in relation to their single-detached counterparts in Canada’s priciest housing markets – Toronto and Vancouver.
According to the latest figures reported by the Toronto Real Estate Board, the average price of a condo in the 416 was $555,004. While that price was up 20.9 per cent in a year-over-year comparison, it’s still a far cry from your average detached house, priced at $1,287,765.
Meanwhile, the Real Estate board of Greater Vancouver reported the average apartment condo was priced at $642,000 in October, while the average detached house came in at about $1 million more, at $1,609,600.
Due to their very nature, condos have typically been a downtown mainstay. Their smaller size has always been worth the trade-off when it comes to convenience and the amenities steps from home. And thanks to urban sprawl and urban un-affordability, condos can be seen rising in suburban areas as well, close to transit hubs, shopping and services that make them a great alternative to traditional single-family homes.
According to Statistics Canada, between 2011 and 2016, the growth rate of Canadian households living in condominiums was up 16.6 per cent in Census Metropolitan Areas, defined as areas with a population of at least 100,000, of which 50,000 or more live in the core. Non-CMAs (read: smaller cities and towns) were not far behind, with a growth rate increase of 11.9 per cent.
Does the term “turn-key” resonate with you? This is a big draw to condo ownership across all ages and stages in life.
First, there’s the maintenance factor to consider. How do you feel about washing exterior windows every spring and fall? What about shovelling the driveway and sidewalk in the winter? Or mowing the lawn and maintaining gardens through the warmer seasons? There’s no question that some people truly enjoy all the upkeep that comes with home ownership. Bot for those who don’t have the time, ability or inclination for regular maintenance, a condo could be your dream home come true.
Part of condo ownership is paying a monthly condo fee – a portion of which goes to the above-mentioned services. This makes condos ideal for busy professionals, jet-setters, snow birds, the young and the restless, and those who flat-our refuse to lug garbage to the curb.
We mentioned the condo fee – a portion of which covers your use of (and maintenance of) the building amenities. The best part? You won’t have to leave the comfort of home to enjoy them. With condos gaining popularity, many developers are including five-star level services to make your home sweet home that much sweeter. Think concierge service and a-la-carte options like home cleaning and laundry (at a cost, of course); spa, salon and massage; a fully equipped gym with fitness classes; pool, hot tub and sauna; games room, party room, board room, library, film-screening theatre, even a guest suite available for overnight visitors. The list is long and luxe.
Depending on the age and amenities offered in your condo building, your fees will vary. But just think about what a rooftop pool, a home theatre and butler service would cost you in a your detached home!
We started our Top 5 list with money, and we’ll end it with money. There’s a reason it’s referred to as “the bottom line.”
Investors have always sought out small condos in urban centres as great money-makers. Particularly if you plan to hold the property over the long-term, you can rent it to a tenant and use the rental income to pay off the mortgage. Once you have that monkey off your back, you can reap the rewards of owning a really cool downtown crash pad, sell it and pocket the profits, or continue renting to tenants – and earn!
Here are some things to consider for in a great investment opportunity:
- Vacancy rates
- Population growth
- Employment opportunities
- Average income
- Infrastructure developments
- Public transit projects
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