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    « Oakville Housing Prices Are Falling – Strategize to Save Thousands | Main | Bronte Creek – August 7th Unveiling of Monarch Homes »
    Friday
    Jul302010

    Why Oakville Developers Are Creating Condo Townhomes

    Most of the first time buyers I work with are looking at Townhomes and Semi-Detached homes.  When I initially meet with these clients, I always ask them if they are willing to live in a condo.  Many are put off by the prospect of paying condo fees, a stigma that I understand.  The realty is however that condo townhomes are becoming more and more prevalent in Oakville, especially among newly built homes.

    Condo fees vary widely from home to home and not all are created equal.  In new developments, we are seeing a lot of “common element condos”.  Homeowners own and are responsible for their home as well as the property it sits on.  The only portions owned by the condo are common elements: road, parking areas, street lighting, sidewalks and small common areas (ie: the area around the community mailboxes).  These condos usually carry a relatively low fee of $50-$80 a month to cover these items. 

    I am often asked why Oakville is developing so many condo townhomes.  I don’t know for sure but one explanation I’ve been given is that developers are creating “private streets” that are too narrow for traditional municipal snow plows (probably so they can fit more homes on the land).  I don’t know that this is the right answer but it’s the only one I’ve been given.  If you know of a different explanation, I would love to hear from you!

    The main difference to remember is that common element townhome fees don’t cover the exterior maintenance of your property (new roofs, garage doors, paint, etc).  The common elements that are covered generally don’t require huge capital outlays so your condo fees tend to remain low over time, unlike traditional condo structures which increase (often quite substantially) as the replacement of windows, doors, roofs, etc are required. 

    When it comes to resale value, there is an inverse relationship between the cost of your condo fee and the value of your home.   Because common elements have low, steady fees, the value of your home won’t be impacted the same way it would if you bought a traditional condo.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that you still have to pay $50-$80 a month for costs that are typically covered by municipal property taxes.  I would love to see the Town of Oakville give condo townhome owners a discount in their taxes to compensate for this but I suspect that I will never live to see that day.

    Whether you like them or not, condo townhomes are becoming more prevalent in Oakville and its surrounding communities.  My advice to any new home buyer is not to shy away from these homes.  As much as no one likes paying an extra condo fee each month, there are some fantastic communities in Oakville that require one.  If you refuse to pay the fee, you could be missing out on a fantastic new home!

    If you are thinking of buying a home and would like to chat further about Oakville townhomes, I would love to hear from you.  I can be reached at lindsay@remaxaboutowne.com or 905.484.5162.

    Regards,
    Lindsay

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