The Pros and Cons of Condo Living

The condominium market is expected to see continued steady growth in most Canadian real estate markets this year. Demand for condos tends to be driven by young professionals, interested in living and working in the downtown core of an urban center, and retiring baby boomers, looking to downsize to a lower-maintenance home, convenient to amenities. Is condo living right for you? There are a number of pros and cons to consider.

In condominium complexes, maintenance such as lawn-mowing, leaf-raking, weeding, and shoveling are handled by hired maintenance professionals, meaning a lighter load of chores for the homeowner. Living in a smaller space further reduces the household workload, granting condo residents more time to dedicate to bobbies or leisure activities. Many of those activities can be undertaken in convenient, onsite facilities such as a pool, fitness center, community room, or woodshop. As a result, many condo complexes have a strong sense of community among residents, who share common spaces and interact more regularly than suburban detached-home-dwellers. Greater proximity to urban amenities such as parks, theaters, and shopping centers often leads people to participate in more activities and events in their surrounding community, as well.

It is important to remember, however, that these conveniences and amenities come at a cost. Condo fees and mortgage rates are likely to rise. This means that condo living can require more careful financial planning for some buyers. Likewise, the challenges of living in a smaller space can be an adjustment for some. While some downsizers find it liberating to live with less, the transition can be difficult for others. If this might be the case for you, give yourself time to plan accordingly and pare down your belongings gradually.

In Ottawa, the overall market inventory is currently very tight, but the average price for a condominium-class property is significantly less than that of a conventional residential-class property.