Like most home buyers you probably thought about the pros and cons of buying a condo versus a freehold home. There are many good reasons to consider condo ownership. They have never been in higher demand. The aging population puts a premium on an easy, less stressful way of living and condo apartments are in high demand due to the downsizing trend. Young singles and couples looking to live in central neighbourhoods also look for condos that fit their lifestyles and budgets. As a result, condos appreciate very steadily.
First, lets quickly define what is a condo. A condominium is not necessarily an apartment. Condominium is a form of ownership. Condos are private residences within a larger community, most often a condo building. All condos share common areas with the other units. These common areas can include parking (sometimes owned, sometimes assigned), elevators, fitness rooms, pools, and lobbies. All condo unit owners pay monthly fees to upkeep the amenities and the general maintenance of the building or community.
It is important to understand that condos can be townhouses.
Condo living is not for everyone. Some people prefer a freehold and enjoy the complete freedom of privacy. Condos are for people who like to be part of a community and do not want to spend time and money upgrading and maintaining their house.
Condos require much less maintenance. Others do it for you. A caretaker cleans the common areas, cut the grass, puts salt on icy parkways and remove snow. Some condos wash your exterior windows, replace the roof and the windows among other services.
If you are a first-time home owner with little experience fixing and working on homes these are huge benefits. If you are a retired person and simply do not want to deal with these issues condos are also a great option for you.
Most modern and many older condo buildings offer security features. Cameras are common these days in lobbies, elevators and parking garages. More luxuries condos even have security personal on duty 24/7. This is a huge bonus if you travel a lot or spend weeks away in your cottage or spend your winter in the South.
Do you enjoy swimming or going to the gym? Many condos have pools and fitness rooms. The residents also organize card nights, breakfast meetings and gardening to keep the community life going. Some of these amenities are simply out of reach to many freehold homeowners. Getting to know you neighbours can be a great benefit in itself.
In general, condos are priced lower than freehold single houses. In Ottawa you can find spacious 2 bedroom condo apartments well under $200,000. The price of condos are affected by location with the more centrally located buildings commanding higher prices. The age and amenities and size of the units are also determining factors. If you are on a tighter budget condos are great as your first home.
Condos used to appreciate slow. This however, changed during the last 15 to 20 years. As urban intensification continues and both an aging population downsizing and the younger generation wanting to enjoy downtown, urban living condos appreciated greatly in recent years.
Many condos are purposely built in hip, modern central areas. These neighbourhood offer an incredible array of entertainment, shopping, recreation all within a few minutes of walk or bike ride. No wonder so many are attracted to this lifestyle. In Ottawa some of the prime neighbourhood where condos changed the landscape and a vibrant urban lifestyle took hold are Westboro and Hintonburg, the Glebe, the Byward Market and increasingly other areas further from downtown.