Although there’s been a shift from building condominiums for sale to constructing condo-sized suites for rent on the West Shore over the past few years, there are some extraordinary deals available on the former.
For example, Bear Mountain, a neighbourhood once considered a market for the well-heeled, is offering up more affordable real estate compared to prices in 2007 and 2008, said Remax Camosun agent Jason Leslie. He pointed to a luxury condo on Finlayson Reach that listed for $2.4 million back in the boom, which is now on the market for $799,000.
By comparison, Leslie just sold a 2,000 square-foot condo in Victoria for $1.9 million, close to double the cost of the condo on Finlayson Reach, and about 20 per cent smaller, without the same level of features and finishings as the one on Bear Mountain.
Even though the vast majority of condos being built on the West Shore are rentals, there are still some eye-opening priced units on the market, noted Leslie.
He cited a junior one-bedroom unit on St. Andrew’s Walk that was purchased for $240,000 and is now available for $174,900. Another condo in the heart of Bear Mountain Village that was priced at $599,000 in 2006 is now for sale for $368,000.
“This is absolutely astonishing,” he said. “For some reason, this micro real estate market just 20 minutes from downtown Victoria is not showing up on the radar. There are some great opportunities for first-time buyers to own for what it would cost to rent. Your dollars go a lot further on the West Shore.”
Leslie believes the remaining bargains won’t be available for long, as the absorption rate is catching up to the boom building period.
“We’re at the tail end of condo availability.”
He added, however, that the situation will change again, with more condos for sale being planned in the next few years.
Q: HOW HAVE CONDOS CHANGED OVER THE YEARS?
The word condo usually conjures up an image of an apartment, quite removed from what one might consider a family home.
Times have definitely changed in that regard, however as larger units have taken their place on the local market scene.
Two, three and four bedroom units with square footage that rival houses are available, many with outdoor space and large patios with a level of luxury not always associated with condominiums.
As builders compete in a booming market, they are adding more high-end bells and whistles to attract people who want to feel at home without purchasing a house.
One area that has seen significant upgrading is the sophistication of security built into the units and parking areas that you don’t generally find in new construction homes.
That increases the sense of security for owners, many who made the decision to go condo based on the appeal of being able to just lock and leave for a weekend or extended time away, without worrying about cutting the lawn or dealing with a lot of the issues many homeowners face when they plan a holiday.
GREATER VICTORIA MARKET UPDATE » MONTH TO DATE, JULY 20/15 COURTESY VICTORIA REAL ESTATE BOARD
» 455 / 681 — NET UNCONDITIONAL SALES / TOTAL, JULY 2014
» 610 / 1,195 — NEW LISTINGS / TOTAL, JULY 2014
» 3,981 / 4,570 — ACTIVE RESIDENTIAL LISTINGS / TOTAL, JULY 2014