Halifax’s Condo Real Estate Specialists

Condo News

INVESTING IN YOUR FUTURE: WHY BUYING REAL ESTATE IN HALIFAX MAKES SENSE FOR STUDENTS Posted on Feb 17, 2015

If you are considering making a move to Halifax to attend university or college, you are not alone. One third of students enrolled in Nova Scotia’s 11 universities come from out of province, with the majority of those choosing higher education institutions in the province’s capital. Halifax is home to Dalhousie University, University of King’s College, Saint Mary’s University, Mount Saint Vincent University, NSCAD University (Nova Scotia College of Art & Design) and the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC).

Dalhousie University, Halifax
While parents of out-of-towners appreciate Halifax’s friendly, safe vibe and well-regarded schools, students love the variety of nightlife, dining, and entertainment that Halifax has to offer. The handmade cocktails being poured behind the bars at Field Guide or Lion & Bright in the trendy North End, live music acts at the legendary Seahorse Tavern and The Marquee Club, and local pubs like Durty Nelly’s, Gus’ Pub & Grill, or The Old Triangle Irish Ale House provide a scene for every taste. Grabbing dinner with friends? Wasabi House Sushi on Quinpool Rd. is inexpensive, fresh and always lined up for a reason. Date night hot spots include The Bicycle Thief at Bishops Landing overlooking the Halifax Harbour, and Morris East on Morris and Barrington Streets, serving up gourmet pizzas with gluten-free options available. And when parents and family come to to visit, take a break from instant noodles and head to EDNA on Gottingen Street, Agricola Street Brasserie or The Five Fishermen.
Of course there is more going on in Halifax than eating and drinking. Sports fanatics can check out QMJHL hockey with the Halifax Mooseheads and basketball with the Halifax Rainmen at the Scotiabank Centre, and if you would rather be on the court than watching from the sidelines, there are intramural and club teams across the city. If you are looking to get a little culture in your life, Neptune Theatre, Symphony Nova Scotia and the Dalhousie Theatre School put on productions throughout the year, and Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (AGNS), Eye Level Gallery and Argyle Fine Art showcase local artists.
Now that your social scene has been mapped out, the most important decision of all may be where to live. Halifax has plenty of options, including on-campus dorms, apartment and flat rentals, and condos and houses for sale. When researching their options, many out-of-province students and their families learn that Halifax’s real estate market is considerably more affordable than most urban Canadian centres, while rents can be surprisingly high due to a constant supply of new students looking for accommodations each year. This, combined with record-low interest rates, makes purchasing a property to live in while attending school an attractive investment opportunity.
Take a look at the comparison between average rental prices on Kijiji in secure, clean buildings, located close to schools and average sale prices of comparable condos over the past six months taken from MLS – both in Downtown Halifax and South End neighbourhood (where Dalhousie and Saint Mary’s Universities are located) below:
Renting an Apartment or Flat:
1 bdrm: $1,000 – $1500 / month
2 bdrm: $1400 – $2000 / month
Purchasing a Condo:
1 bdrm @ $250k:  $1049.51 + $300 condo fees = $1349.51/month*
2 bedroom @ $400k: $1,679.21+ $400 condo fees = $2079.21/month*
*10% down, variable rate mortgage at 2.85% amortized over 25 years
As you can see, high demand for rentals and Halifax’s affordable real estate market means that purchasing a condo in Halifax’s most desirable neighbourhoods can be as cost-effective (or even less expensive) on a monthly basis than renting, and the buyer pays down $50k – $80k on their property over a 4 year period, versus the renter who pays the same amount to a landlord.
For more information on Halifax’s condo market and finding the right property for a student attending university here, please contact us today.
– C

The New Standard in Luxury: How Halifax’s High-End Condos Are Upping Their Game Posted on Jan 27, 2015

Today’s high-end condo buyer is discriminating, has done their research and expects much more from their new home than a place to hang their hat. While contemporary interior design and high-end finishes have become expected, many of Halifax’s prestige condominiums are taking luxury to a new level.

Artists Rendering of Downtown Halifax Luxury Condos – The Roy
Get Smart
High-end condos in Halifax have leveraged the latest in modern technology to provide convenience and peace-of-mind. Today’s luxury buildings are outfitted with state-of-the-art electronic security systems, automated controls, and are wired for fibre optic high speed internet and HDTV access.
Technology is also being used to create environmentally sustainable buildings and minimize utility costs for owners. Solar panels, ICF Construction, capturing and re-using hot air and grey water, and energy-efficient appliances and fixtures are a few of the ways that Halifax condos are achieving LEED® Gold and Platinum certification.
Work It Out
Today’s urban dweller takes their fitness seriously. Whether you are a busy professional looking to maximize your time between home and the office, or you prefer a weekend workout without having to brave the winter cold, top-notch fitness facilities are a must. Gone are the days of a cramped room with mismatched weights and a broken treadmill. Luxury condo buildings now offer fully equipped facilities with views of the city, swimming pools, hot tubs, saunas, and even yoga and massage therapy studios.
Entertain Me
Love to entertain? A high-end condo will leave an impression as your guests can expect to be greeted in the lobby of many luxury buildings by a 24 hour concierge. And, while your stylish new pad will no doubt be an excellent place to host, if you are expecting a larger crowd or looking to take the party outdoors, Halifax’s high-end condos offer plenty of options. Furnished social rooms with kitchen facilities, as well as entertainment lounges including pool tables, big screen TVs and theatre screens offer the perfect space for a chic wine tasting or poker night with the guys. For those warm summer nights, today’s luxury buildings offer landscaped rooftop terraces with stylish touches such as loungers, cabanas, barbecues and gas fireplaces.
These are just a few of the innovative ways that Halifax’s high-end condos continue to offer luxury on par with or exceeding what can be found in major urban centres – and, perhaps best of all, often at a much more accessible investment level. Are you ready for an exclusive living experience in Halifax? Contact us for more information on move-in ready and upcoming options.
– C

More New Development For The North End Posted on Oct 29, 2013

Harris East is soon to be the newest condo development coming to the North End. Bringing more places to live in this great neighbourhood.

 

Artist’s Rendering of Harris East, a new condo development for the growing Agricola St. area of Halifax.

Atlantic Developments will build “Harris East”, 56 condo units on the corner of Harris and Maynard Streets. The condos will be directed toward first time buyers between 25-40 and be made up of mainly bachelor and one bedroom condos with a few two bedroom spaces on the top floor with higher ceilings. The building will include underground parking and a rooftop common space and balconies on most units. Atlantic Developments has experience in the neighbourhood, having built and sold “Theatre Lofts” on Gottingen in recent years.

 
If you have questions or comments about this building or any other questions about buying or selling condos in Halifax, contact us here.
-C
 

Downtown Condo Pre-construction Update Posted on Oct 10, 2013

 

There are a number of new and exciting downtown condo buildings popping up on the market here in Halifax. Interestingly many of these condos or mixed use buildings are projected to near completion around the same time. Here is the quick rundown of what’s happening in condo news downtown:
Southport Condos-

Southport Condos Artists Rendering.

This new development is proposed by Toronto developer Urban Capital as the South End’s first loft-style condos. Located between the Atlantic Superstore and Tim Hortons at the southern end of Barrington street. The condos are expected to be directed toward condo buyers with prices starting in the low $200,000.00’s.

 
The Roy-

Artists Rendering of The Roy.

The existing Roy Building at 1650 Barrington street is slated to be razed to the ground beginning sometime in the coming months. The building will be Barrington’s first luxury condo high-rise featuring 24/7 concierge services, year round pool facilities, rooftop cabanas, fitness centre and ultra high-end finishes not to mention unobstructed views of Citadel Hill and Halifax Harbour. These condos are expected to start in the $500,000.00 range and up from there. The Roy will be a 22 story mixed use building with retail and commercial space as well as condos. The Roy condominium complex is one of a few developments in the downtown that will be allowed the height of 22 stories as Halifax By Design no longer allows buildings of this height. The developer, Starfish Properties, who own many buildings along Barrington street, has already begun to help with the revitalization of downtown with their reconstruction of the old Sam The Record Man building.
It is interesting to note that these new developments are expected to be complete around 2015 when the Nova Centre is expected to be completed. It will be a long couple of years for traffic, but Halifax will feel like a whole new city when it is all complete!
If  you have any questions or info to add, please feel free to contact us!
-C

Do I Really Need To Have A Condo Inspected? Posted on Sep 25, 2013

We all think that a condo is a safe bet because know that condo fees cover exterior and common area maintenance so we shouldn’t need to get an inspection, right? This question often comes up when I talk to clients who are looking to save a few bucks when it comes to closing costs, but a proper inspection can often bring to light issues that are worth having a professional opinion on. I thought it would help to ask a home inspector what he thought about inspecting condos before committing to buy. Glen Strang is one of our trusted partners and the owner of Amerispec Inspection Services who have been in business since 1995, this is what he had to say:
A condominium is a building like any other home that has repair and maintenance requirements. A qualified home inspector will give you information regarding the condition of the dwelling unit and its major systems, including the performance of the electrical, heating and plumbing systems in the unit.
Defects in structural components with the building overall can also often be detected through an inspection of the interior of the unit itself. This process can potentially alert the purchaser to any major repairs or replacements that will be necessary in the near future. A deteriorated common element such as the roof or siding that has resulted in leakage to the interior of a unit dwelling can mean that a large portion of the money that has been saved in the reserve fund may soon be required. This situation can result in the potential for a ”special assessment” or an increase to a unit owners monthly condo fees for a period of time, based on their percent- age ownership in the corporation.
The home inspection is also a useful process to help educate the purchaser on the importance of regular maintenance such as ensuring that seams in the bathrooms that are prone to water penetrations are kept well sealed.  A home inspection will also advise a purchaser on the benefits of performing regular maintenance to appliances such as Heat Recovery Ventilators. A properly maintained ventilation system will help to promote positive air quality in the dwelling itself as it is designed to maintain acceptable humidity levels within the unit.
 If you have any questions about condo inspections, or any other home inspection questions for that matter, don’t hesitate to contact Glen at glen.strang@amerispec.ca or call: 902-469-1119.

As always if you are looking to buy or sell a condo feel free to contact us.

 

5 Things to Look Out for When Purchasing a Condo Posted on Sep 16, 2013

So you’ve been considering buying a condo for a while and you are starting to think that those late night MLS research sessions should finally turn into actual viewings. Well here are 5 things that you need to read before you start writing up an offer.

1. Location, location, location!!

 We all know that when looking at a condo building we have to remember the oldest saying in real estate “location, location, location.” The location needs to have access to the things you want like a grocery store, booze boutique, coffee shops etc. But one thing that people don’t always consider is what the area is going to look like in four or five years. Cities are living, breathing and growing entities and you want to know if and what is being built around the condo you might buy. These developments can be a benefit to you down the road if the new building has a hot new coffee shop or store in it, or maybe it’s bringing a new affluent workforce that will want to buy in your building. If a city is doing it right, some of it’s older low-rise buildings in the downtown will come down and be replaced with taller structures, this may jeopardize that stunning view you just fell in love with, making your particular unit less attractive to buyers down the road. The Buyer’s Agent you have carefully and painstakingly selected to guide you through the buying process should be keeping their pulse on what is going on in the areas that you are looking. That seemingly cute little neighbourhood your condo is overlooking may be a 10 story building in the next few years, if you know this, it might make all the difference whether you buy on the 9th or the 11th floor.

2.  Are there any special assessments being considered for this condo?

If you are in the market for a condo, you should be considering the condo fees, if you are not aware of this, or need more info on what they are click HERE to get caught up. There are some other things that you need to keep your eyes open for. Generally speaking, in Halifax the condo doc’s are sent over after an offer is accepted. This package should contain many things, among them should be the last few condo meeting minutes, at the very least the last meeting’s minutes. These are important reading as they should discuss any special assessments that may have recently been carried out or (more importantly) WILL be carried out in the near future. If there is a special assessment, it can affect you greatly as they can be as high as $15K a year and can be paid for multiple years above and beyond the regular condo fees. It is not uncommon to ask a seller to pay them out before closing, but that isn’t always possible, so you must be aware of this.

 

3.  Do the condo bylaws exclude me from living the way I want?

So you have found a condo you love in a location that’s perfect and your Buyer’s Agent assures you that a new Eaton Centre isn’t going up directly in front of your floor to ceiling windows, there’s even a little park down the street for Linus your pitbull-sheltie mix who loves to run in circles. This is where the contents of those by-laws become quite interesting; they should say something about if dogs are allowed or not. Most buildings allow dogs, but might only allow them at the discretion of the condo board or up to a certain weight. You can be fairly certain that they will exclude American Staffordshire Terriers.
4.  Is the condition of the condo something that I can live with?
 People sometimes make the mistake of buying a condo that needs more upgrades than they can handle, it is uncommon with my clients due to my sage wisdom and guidance, however I have heard of it happening. The client loves the space, but the kitchen needs to be opened up, and all the counters replaced, and the bathroom needs a total makeover. We see a lot of home reno shows these days, but be aware that a kitchen or bathroom reno is not cheap and is not for the faint of heart; it will take longer than you think and cost much more than you think. When you buy a place, you should almost always expect to have to paint and a good mortgage broker can often get you a purchase plus improvement deal to allow for the necessary renos. All this being said, if the place you are looking at needs a new everything, are you willing and able to do the work, or should you just keep looking until you find something that suits a little better?
5.  If you can, buy two bedrooms
 Even if it’s just you or you and your significant other, the extra space will be needed someday, either as a place for a friend when they come to visit or to crash when you are in the dog house. The extra space will allow you to live there comfortably a little longer and two bedrooms can tend to sell a little quicker than one bedrooms.
If you have any questions or comments about what you see here or anywhere on our site please feel free to contact us here.
Chris
 

Halifax Condo Market Update 2nd Quarter 2013 Posted on Jul 03, 2013

Halifax Condo Market Update 2nd Quarter 2013

Figure 1 – All data based on MLS® statistics for areas 1 – 40 which encompass all of HRM.

Figure 2 – All data based on MLS® statistics for areas 1 – 40 which encompass all of HRM.

Overview

The Halifax condo market is still experiencing a slowdown in both average price and the number of sales.  Average price for the 2nd quarter decreased by 1.1% and the number of sales dropped 25% compared to the second quarter of 2012.  This trend is no different with single family homes and investment properties in HRM.  All markets in HRM are experiencing a slowdown.  The summer market is generally a slow time in the real estate market in HRM.  We anticipate sales and price could increase in the fall of this year.

If you would like more information on the Halifax Condo market you can always contact us. info@condo-company.ca

-Andrew

 

How A Condo Can Help You Save! Posted on Jun 14, 2013

With the continual rise in everything from coffee to gas, power to movie tickets, and the inevitable rise in interest rates, now may be the time for you to consider downsizing to a condo. Lets take a quick look at what some of the benefits of a smaller living space might be:
1. Save on Mortgage and Down Payment- The first and largest place that savings could occur is in the actual sticker price, condos tend to cost less compared to single family homes in similar areas.

2. Savings on Power and Heating Costs- Let’s face it, a smaller space will require less in the way of lights (as there will likely be fewer of them) and less in the way of heating costs. I can’t tell you how many times I have been in someone’s home, gone into a room or even an entire basement that is completely empty, just waiting to be finished or filled with furniture and in the meantime the homeowner is heating this space. The other great one is the basement “man-cave” an entire second living room, which many men aspire to having. I don’t know about anyone else, but with how busy things get in this day and age, when I get some time to sit down in front of the tv, I like to spend it with my significant other.
 3. Savings on Maintenance- Do you really need all those bathrooms? How about all that roof? Paying monthly maintenance fees may seem like a lot at first glance, but when you compare that with ongoing maintenance of a house, they aren’t that bad. Over the life of a house you will have things to deal with like re-caulking windows and doors, repainting and re-roofing, unless you have established your own contingency fund, those can become big expenses all at once.
4. Renos Will Cost Less- When it comes time to do some renos, you will love the smaller size especially when hardwood and tile are sold and installed on a per square foot price.

5. Save Time- If there is one thing that everyone loves, it’s cleaning and mowing and raking the lawn, and sweeping off the deck, and cleaning their windows, and painting fences. I’m sure we would all much rather be doing that than say, sailing, or reading, baking cookies, or working on our parkour skills.

6. Save Time AND Money on Your Daily Commute- In many cases, moving into a condo is going to allow for moving closer to downtown, this will allow you to either take advantage of public transit, walk, or at least shorten your drive to and from work. Which brings me to another of the big savers….

7. Do You Need Your Car?- If you move closer to downtown you will likely be able to sell your car and use public transit or walk day-to-day. Many households in the ‘burbs require two cars, one that often just commutes one of the parties to and from work and sits downtown, where you then pay to park. A car can be a major expense, even just reducing the number of kilometers driven and fuel consumed can help a lot.

8. Reduce Your Property Taxes- By switching to a condo and reducing your square footage you could reduce your property tax bill significantly.

9. Clear Out Your Stuff- Decluttering is another advantage of moving to a smaller space. Over time we tend to accumulate stuff, lots of stuff, in a large enough house, tonnes of stuff! All that extra furniture for the second living room and extra bedrooms, not to mention all those hawaiian shirts that you haven’t worn since the 80’s (thank-you) that can likely be offloaded to someone hosting a theme party. Decluttering can be good for the pocketbook and good for the soul.

 
There we have it, nine fantastic ways in which you can save by downsizing into a condo, I’m sure there are many other ways in which you can save, if you think of one, have any questions about condos contact us here.
-Chris