Micro-condos a bad fit in Ottawa?
Re: “Micro-condos make big splash” (Sept. 29)
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