Recently, I was on two popular community radio talk shows. Here is a text version of my conversation.
Q: Amit you differentiate yourself from the crowd by focusing on condos in Mississauga Square One since 2003. As per your popular website CONDOPUNDIT.com, you come across as someone with a good knowledge about condominiums. Can you tell us why condos are becoming so popular? Also can you throw some light about what's so special about Downtown Mississauga?
A: Affordability is the top reason for condo popularity. The starting price point of condo apartments is more affordable than the starting price point of freehold properties, which is why more people buy condos.
This trend will continue in the future, in my opinion. Condo popularity is also supported by land constraints which favour high density development, ageing population and lifestyle choice. As per CMHC, currently in the GTA, one out of three new homes built, is a condominium. New condo sales in Q2 (2010) is up 244% over same time last year, as per TREB. As interest rates will increase, lesser expensive condo apartments will become even more popular than expensive freehold homes.
Q: Everyone in talking about Downtown Mississauga, can you tell me what is happening in Downtown Mississauga?
A: Real estate in Downtown Mississauga or Square One Area is all about LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!
There is no scope for any further large suburban residential development in Mississauga. There is no land left for development, except in Downtown Mississauga. Mississauga is home of some of the world's top corporations. Affluent immigrants from all over the globe make Mississauga their home. Work is already in progress at Civic Square, some $40 million is planned to be spent to convert this Civic Square into a great place, even better that Dundas Square, in my opinion.
This will be the place for year round festivities, where people from every ethnicity and age group will come close together, to celebrate their festivals.
Sheridan College will bring almost 5,000 students making the place very vibrant.
Downtown Mississauga is based on the concept of bringing people together, with a network of pedestrian friendly streets. Besides, bus rapid transportation and light rapid transit will be a close walk that will help Downtown Mississauga residents reach anywhere in the GTA within minutes. Read more about Downtown Mississauga.
Q: Who is buying condos in Downtown Mississauga?
A: There are various types of people buying condos in Downtown Mississauga: Young educated professionals, first time buyers, new immigrant families, investors, non resident investors, parents buying condos for adult children, and seniors who are moving to condos and want to live in this vibrant area.
I also sometimes come across seniors from our community who don't want to keep savings earning mere two percent at bank and feel safe investing in real estate.
Q: How do you compare Downtown Mississauga condos to Downtown Toronto condos?
A: This can be summed up in two answers: Mississauga offers, lower price and better return on rent. Price of a similar one bedroom condo apartment in Downtown Toronto is almost $80,000 more than that of a Downtown Mississauga condo.
The rent difference is approx. $250 per month, thus an investor needs to spend $80,000-$100,000 more in order to gain $250-$350 in rent every month. If the property is not close to where one lives, extra fuel/parking etc. costs toward property management may erode one's gains, because, Mississauga condos are priced much lower in terms of price per square feet, there is a better scope for growth, in terms of affordability.
Q: Can you give an example of price per square feet with some other popular condo cities in Canada?
A: I will give you an example of approximate price per square feet (psf) of pre-construction condos in 3 popular Canadian condo cities. Below numbers are ballpark figures only, real estate is very local, prices vary from one to another project depending on location, builder reputation, upgrades, finishes etc.
In Vancouver, ballpark price was $600 psf in 2007. Today, prices are struggling at $750 psf. Affordability plays an important role in addition to other factors that affect real estate.
In Downtown Toronto ballpark price was $400 psf in 2007, today rates start at approx. $600 psf.
In Downtown Mississauga ballpark price was $350 psf in 2007, today rates start at approx. $425 psf.
In my opinion, Downtown Mississauga prices have not reached the peak, and there is room to grow. So at a certain price point, price appreciation slows down or it may not even happen. Of course, other factors like, economy in general, income growth, interest rates, supply of new condos etc. play an important role.
Q: How new builder condo market has performed since past few years?
A: I can tell you the past approximate pre-construction ballpark sold prices by quoting Daniels builder, in respect to one bedroom condos (approx. 600 sq ft in size) in Mississauga; this will give you some idea of rate of return.
I cannot predict the future though; I wish I had a crystal ball.
In 2001, No.1 City Centre Condos (completed 2004) were sold for approx. $145,000. In 2003, Capital Condos (completed 2006) were sold for approx. $160,000. In 2005, One Park Condos (completed 2008) were sold for approx. $175,000. In 2007, Chicago Condos (completed 2010) were sold for approx. $225,000. In 2010, Limelight Condos (to be completed in 2012) are being sold at $265,000.
So you can see that builder's price has moved up considerably since 2001.
Q: How easy is it to rent? What is the rental value of these condos?
A: People, who are not buying for their own use, can invest for rental return. At this moment we have a very healthy rental market, it is very much landlord friendly, in fact, I have leased almost one dozen units in last one month or so.
Approx. rental prices for luxury condo apartments in Downtown Mississauga are: 1 BR: $1,300 pm, 2BR: $1,500-$1700 pm, 3 BR-$1700-$2000 pm (depending upon size). Tenants pay their own utilities.
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