The Condo As First Purchase


If you’re a young Canadian buying your first place (ok, maybe not as young as the one in the photo above!), chances are your first purchase will be a condominium rather than a house.

Here’s a recent article published in quoting Yours Truly outlining some of the reasons. Read on below for the full story.

Do you have questions? Please know I’m here to help!

~ Steven

Note: This cute baby is actually wallpaper available from!

First Time Home Buyers and the Condominium

Heather Wright, Real Estate Trade Journalist
Published on, a resource for Real Estate and Mortgage Professionals, May 2011.

Of the young urbanites who have recently entered into home ownership through the purchase of a condominium, more than two thirds of them indicated that, had they more money at their disposal- would have preferred to buy a house- this according to a new poll just released by TD Canada Trust.

Not surprisingly, most of those who have purchased a condo are first-time homebuyers (with the other statistical chunk belonging to retiring downsizers).  Many indicate that the affordability of a condo for many who are just beginning their careers is an attractive feature. According to this poll, this was the draw for respondents under 35-years-old (62% versus 46% for other age groups). Also, this group identifies condo ownership as a brief stop on the road to ownership of larger properties, with many indicating that they plan to move not too long after the initial purchase of a condo.  There are many things to consider before deciding on a condo, though.

“Before making the decision to buy a condo and own it for only a few short years, calculate the costs that you will incur, such as condo fees, parking fees and moving expenses and work this into your budget,” says Farhaneh Haque, Regional Manager, Mobile Mortgage Specialists, TD Canada Trust.  “Depending on how soon you plan to move, these costs could outweigh the equity you’ll build and receive from the eventual sale of your condo.”

As Toronto Realtor Steven Fudge, Bosley Real Estate Limited, told, there is  value in the affordability of a condo for a first time homebuyer- in particular for those seeking shelter in an urban setting. “Condominiums tend to be more affordable than freehold housing in most urban centres, making them financially accessible for younger Canadians. “

“While many young Canadians may have the funds for a down payment, they lack the additional capital often required to repair and upgrade an older freehold property. The condominium serves as a great start for income rich cash poor buyers, many whom are young Canadians. “

It’s not just about money either; condos address lifestyle issues as well. Many young urbanites are busy with work or social activities, and if given the choice, would rather focus their attention in that direction, than on maintaining a property themselves. “Most condominiums have a management company that coordinates  the maintenance, repair, and replacement of major building components on behalf of its’ owners. As a result, condominiums are well-suited to buyers lacking the knowledge, skills or interest in the fundamentals of heating/cooling, plumbing, wiring, and roofing, etc.”

According to the TD poll, among the features that were most important to condo fees were overwhelmingly named as the most important feature to look for in a condo (95%).    Four-in-five respondents were not willing to pay more than $400 in condo fees monthly.  Other features that ranked highly were good  building security and attractive interior design features (both 92%).  Those over 50 are more likely to say attractive exterior design is an important consideration (88%), whereas younger respondents were more concerned about being close to public transit (85%) and near theatres, restaurants and shopping (85%).

Keeping in line with the mantra, ‘location, location, location’ , many condominiums offer proximity , price and amenities , and as Fudge suggests, these are more complementary to the expressed needs  of this demographic. “In urban centres, condominiums tend to be more centrally located and accessible to the places young Canadians work and play. This accessibility supports the ‘work hard, play hard’ lifestyle embraced by younger buyers, who are often single or a childless couple. “

“In Toronto, some high density condominium communities include comprehensive amenities specifically geared to attract young Canadians. Swimming pools with outdoor lounges and barbecues create opportunities to congregate, as do in-house movie theatres, bowling alleys, fitness facilities, and billiards rooms. Essentially offering a luxury ‘hotel lifestyle’ for the young and upwardly mobile, many young Canadians find it a far more exciting home ownership opportunity than a house in the burbs. “

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