Does it have to be new?

While researching recent condo sales this week for a couple of upcoming listings (check back to for details, CondoClient members, we’ll let you know before they hit MLS®), the disparity between the cost of new or almost new construction and older, more established buildings really hit home with me.

After some quick work on the calculator, I saw that newer condos in the core are selling in the area of $475 to $500 per square foot. Older buildings are selling in the neighbourhood of $335 to $350 per square foot. That’s a big difference! Are some of the older units looking a little dreary? Yes. Could some of the units stand a renovation? Yes. Even after factoring in renovating or decorating costs, the case could be made that they are still better value for money. The more established buildings also have some bona fide benefits over their newer counterparts. One of the important ones is they have had their financial “shakeout” i.e. the operating expenses are a known quantity and, barring any surprises, there should not be any big jumps in the condo fee. Another benefit is many of the older buildings have better locations and amenities. So, before you get caught up in the excitement of the granite counters and the bamboo floors, step back and remind yourself that those goodies can be added to an older unit (and also done over time for those on a budget) and at the end of the day you could end up with more space, renovated to your taste and with less money invested.

Bob Fraser is a sales representative with Remax Metro-City Realty Ltd., Brokerage, an experienced Ottawa real estate agent, and co-founder of the Ottawa Condo Guide, a resource for buyers and sellers of condominium properties in Ottawa. Our goal is to help educate buyers and sellers in the Ottawa real estate market, and provide professional advice when helping them buy and sell properties.


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