Mi­cro-con­dos a bad fit in Ot­tawa?

Re: “Mi­cro-con­dos make big splash” (Sept. 29)

Ottawa Business Journal - - READER COMMENTS - – Jayme

Ot­tawa is not like other ma­jor ci­ties. Mi­cro­con­dos will work well near univer­si­ties but at a lower price than they are now. It’s very im­por­tant for those new in­vestors to un­der­stand what is a good in­vest­ment in down­town. I do sales and rentals in the down­town and most peo­ple in the condo mar­ket com­plain about th­ese small con­dos. It is quite common to see th­ese units va­cant and hard to rent, un­less it’s a cheap, cheap price for stu­dents or a sin­gle per­son. Ot­tawa is quite dif­fer­ent from Toronto, Van­cou­ver or ma­jor ci­ties in the world where this type of mi­cro-con­dos make sense. House prices in th­ese ci­ties are three to seven times more ex­pen­sive than in Ot­tawa. I have wit­nessed many first-time in­vestors who jumped into the mar­ket and bought th­ese small con­dos since 2012 and are los­ing money. It’s hard to com­pete with those con­dos that are 1-2 bed­rooms that are also avail­able and easy to rent. Ot­tawa is a small city and most peo­ple are spoiled for space. How­ever, Ot­tawa with so many stu­dents in this re­gion, mi­cro­con­dos will be per­fect for stu­dents or for peo­ple who need a place to stay when liv­ing in Ot­tawa due to work or school. But in a slow or flat mar­ket, I think they are a bad Rac­quel, Ot­tawa is not re­ally a small city. The full-time pop­u­la­tion (of Ot­tawa-Gatineau) is around 1.2 mil­lion, which is a fair size. Then you add in all the part-time cit­i­zens and you are prob­a­bly look­ing at around 1.4 mil­lion. As for Toronto, I know some who think there is a huge de­mand for con­dos there. In fact, there is re­ally not. That city soon will have the largest sur­plus of con­dos in the world, and the same goes for of­fice build­ings. The vacancy rate now is about seven per cent, and it is ex­pected to be around 18 per cent in the next five years.

in­vest­ment and I see this ev­ery day when I show a rental and try to sell th­ese con­dos. I hear they are too small, let’s move on to the next one. In ad­di­tion, many stu­dents are start­ing to move out­side the core, where they can af­ford larger con­dos.

– Raquel Ireta

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