Condo buyers' demands changing

There’s no question condominiums are an increasingly popular housing choice for Canadians for a variety of reasons – which also means condo buyers’ demands are changing like never before.

Some buyers want proximity to transit, others prefer a location in the heart if the city. Some want a parking spot, others are okay with an adjacent car-share service. Many want on-site recreational facilities, while for some, Wi-Fi is near the top of their list of must-haves. Some unit owners want to just come and go, while others want to sit on the condo management board so they have a say in building operations.

In Toronto, where Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. this week confirmed the market is not being overbuilt, buyers there might have completely different needs than those in Vancouver or Calgary.

In Toronto, a dearth of supply of lowrise housing is leading to skyrocketing prices in that category, leading many buyers to opt for condos.

“If you don’t want a ghastly commute, a downtown condominium has been the choice for many cash-strapped Torontonians,” says condo market analysts Ben Myers. “Interestingly, countless condo dwellers who were once very skeptical about highrise living, have converted to loving the walkable convenience of downtown, and the maintenance free lifestyle that a condominium provides.”

“Many major condo developments are turning into self-sustaining communities,” Toronto broker Anthony Jong wrote on YPNextHome. “They are essentially a neighbourhood within a neighbourhood. These projects combine retail, commercial offices, residential condos and an abundance of creative amenities in one community that benefits a variety of lifestyles.”

Then there’s the whole question of investors, who have a completely different set of condo buyers’ demands than primary homebuyers. “All investors care about is making money,” one industry expert told YPNextHome recently. “They could care less about the bells and whistles.”

These bells and whistles might be something as simple as Green features such as energy efficient appliances and lighting – valued inclusions for those who buy a unit to live in. For investors, however, these luxuries – or anything else that results in higher unit purchase costs or condo fees – may cut into their bottom line.

And that’s if developers even make the latest available tech features available in their projects. Not all of them do, until any new technology is tried and true – and they know consumers want and are willing to pay for it.

Indeed, the list of condo buyers’ demands is vast, varied and growing all the time.

So, what do you want in your condo?

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