A condo unit will remain a viable real-estate ownership alternative for as long as its monthly maintenance fees and realty taxes remain below the monthly rental of a comparable unit in another condo complex or apartment building. Once the condo's maintenance fees and realty taxes exceed the cost of comparative rentals, there will be no demand to buy it.
Last December a new B.C. government directive went into effect, requiring condo buildings to prepare a depreciation report that gives prospective buyers details about expected long-term expenses or problems. Despite the new rule, only about one quarter of the stratas across the province have commissioned depreciation reports so far.
A simultaneous fit of euphoria and vertigo weakens your knees as you gaze out the living room window of a brand new 22nd floor luxury penthouse. Amidst the flood of emotions and peer pressures, you manage to clear your head and ask yourself one sobering question -- is this a good long-term investment?
Despite the rumours surrounding the "real estate bubble," there is one thing that is certain; lenders are tightening their belts and imposing greater restrictions on both consumers and developers. For those that aren't aware of how the process works for a new construction condominium, here's a quick lesson: Developers in Canada need to sell 75 per cent of a project in order to get their financing. In Canada, basically, not enough sales means no money therefore in some circumstances, no project. So where does that leave investors?
Conventional wisdom is that this is the market at work. This is not the market at work. This is manipulation of a government system of open-ended mortgage insurance that is poorly supervised. What is going on here is a deluge of hot money from abroad that is creating an artificial, and potentially dangerous real estate bubble.
Perhaps you're thinking of downsizing since you don't need the four-bedroom house anymore. Sick of shoveling the snow? Want more time to travel? A hassle-free condo lifestyle might be what you're looking for. Condos and co-ops are both good alternatives to owning a house, but there are pros and cons to both.