Project Update - Mechanicsville Lofts

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Originally designed as a low-rise six-unit development located at 92 Stonehurst in Mechanicsville, the project is currently getting revamped and will be re-launched this summer. Originally set for a 2017 completion, Mechanicsville Lofts took a back seat to its sister project on Beechwood - St. Charles Market. With the strong sales that St. Charles Market has seen, it has allowed the teams at Modbox to shift back to getting M-Lofts prepared. With no exact date yet, you can expect the re-launch for sometime in June. 

SoBa Condos - Sales and Construction Update

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SoBa Condos, located just north of the 417 on Catherine street has officially finished pouring the top floor (23rd). Lamb Development is expecting an occupancy of 2018, starting on the lowest floors. The building is 75-80% sold and they are currently "in-talks" with selling the last two penthouse units.

The Corners On Main - Phase Two - Sales and Construction Update

Domicile has had great success with The Corners On Main project, especially with phase one and now with Phase two. Located just in front of phase one, at 141 Main Street, The Corners On Main phase two is a six-story 64 unit building that is currently at 50% sold out.

Prices currently range from $208,600 (Williard floorplan - 346sqft) up to $771,000 (Hopewell floorplan - 1552sqft). All units include parking in the price (except for the Pied a Terre Suites or the Willard/Rosedale/Sloan/Marco floorplans). Monthly condo fees are estimated at 42 cents per square foot, and an additional $33/month per parking spot.

Construction is well underway with crews currently building out of the ground. Occupancy is set for Summer of 2019.

Bellwood Floorplan Corners On Main Ottawa Condo

A favorite floorplan of many is the Bellwood - a 1195sqft two bedroom, two bathrooms, with north facing views. It is a generous floorplan with an open concept feel and large second private balcony off the master bedroom. The Bellwood is still available on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floors - keep in mind the 2nd floor has a terrace instead of a balcony. Ranging from $635,200 up to $655,000 depending on the floor.

For more information about The Corners On Main including updated price list and floorplans, or if you have questions about the Ottawa condo market, fill out the form below.

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reResidences - Sales and Construction Update

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Construction is well underway at reResidences, located at 101 Queen street. The crews have now made their way out of the ground and making quick progress towards the 18 stories. The building is 70% sold out, with a little bit of everything still available for purchase. They are looking at a 2019 occupancy.

reResidences is set to have some of the best views in the city, with a dominant location directly in front of the peace tower. 

For more information about reResidences, or about pre-construction condos in Ottawa - let's chat.

 

The Corners On Main - Phase One - Sales Update

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Phase one of The Corners on Main has gone very well and has only a limited number of units left to purchase. Out of the original 74 suites, there are only five suites remaining. Prices range from $246,100 (for unit 401 the chestnut floorplan - a 478 sqft) up to $730,100 (for unit 211 the Drummond floorplan - 1535sqft). Parking is not available for purchase with unit 401, however it is included with the other units. Occupancy has now begun and you could be moving in (almost) right away! Built by Domicile, the building is located at 141 Main Street.

For more detailed information on remaining units, floor plans and pricing, or for information about pre-construction condos in Ottawa, please fill out the form below!

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Tamarack Wellington Phase 2 Construction?

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A few people have expressed interest in the construction located behind Tamarack Wellington, as it looks like they are building a phase two. They are, however, it is going to be a luxury rental building with approximately 179 residential rental units. The building is located at 1140 Wellington and the occupancy is to start this summer! Visit Tamarack's website for the project here: www.1140wellington.com

Minto Beechwood - Only 3 Units Left

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There are only three units that remain at Minto's Beechwood development. Located at 411 Mackay at Beechwood, the eight-storey building has a total of 130 units. The three remaining units are:

Elmdale Floor Plan

- Unit 302 - Elmdale floorplan - 1 bedroom plus den - 823 sqft (788sqft interior, 35sqft exterior) - priced at $374,900 - See floorplan to the right.

- Unit 312 - Manor floorplan - 2 bedroom plus den - 1200 sqft (1105sqft interior, 95sqft exterior) - priced at $517,900

- Unit 708 - Westward floorplan - 2 bedroom plus den - 2059 sqft (1909sqft interior, 150sqft exterior) - priced at $982,900

For more information about Minto Beechwood or pre-construction condos in Ottawa, fill out the form below.

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Condo Fees - What exactly am I paying for?

 The gym at 111 Champagne (SoHo Champagne) is a common element which is paid for by the monthly condo fee.

The gym at 111 Champagne (SoHo Champagne) is a common element which is paid for by the monthly condo fee.

A common question people ask is regarding the monthly condo fees and what exactly the fee is paying for. To start, the fee is to pay for your share of the building... or your share of the common expenses. 
Your share is decided based on your percentage of ownership in the building or square footage of the overall building. In a highrise, it can be as little as .3% (or even less), however in a small lowrise that percentage could much higher. This would also increase if you have a parking spot and locker. Keep in mind that (typically, in most buildings) balconies or terraces are not used to determine ownership - you don't pay for the square footage of your balcony or terrace. They are referred to as exclusive common elements. You don't own them like the condo unit, instead, you have exclusive rights to use them. 

Common expenses can include:
- garbage collection
- snow removal
- landscaping
- water charges
- electricity for the common elements (hallways, parking garages, etc)
- natural gas heating for the common elements
- natural gas heating for the boiler tanks that supply heating to the units
- building insurance
- professional property management
- audit, legal, and professional expenses (lawyer, accountant, etc.)
- the maintenance, repair, and replacement of the common element components (this is and can be a big one - since this includes the building structure, elevators, windows, etc.) this also includes the amenities and equipment (gym equipment, bbq, pool, etc.)
- the cost of borrowing money (if a repair is needed that can't be covered by the reserve fund, the Corporation needs to borrow money)
- any remuneration payable to employees (superintendent, security, concierge, etc).

Every year Ottawa condo owners receive a breakdown of the expenses, and how the monthly condo fee was allocated and is projected to be spent. It is easy to ignore the document as it is long and dry, but important to look over and pay attention to how the money is being spent. 

Often I explain it as living in a condo provides a luxury that is impossible to match in a residential house at the same price point. Underground heated parking, an elevator, a concierge, gym, party room, no landscaping such as snow removal or lawn cutting, and no taking out the trash - just send it down a chute. 

Have a question about condo living or buying a condo? Let's chat.

Where Does My Condo Start? What do I own?

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A common question is regarding the boundaries of the condo, where exactly does it start? What exactly do you own, versus what is a common element? The answer is simple - check your status certificate. The main reason is that every single building is different and each building will have a different definition.

That said let's give you a better answer - let's take a closer look at the status certificate for The Galleria Phase 2 (238 Besserer) which will be fairly similar for those in a recently built highrise. Again, don't assume this is what is used by your building, check your own status certificate.

For the residential condo, the status describes the
- horizontal lower (floor) boundary as the upper unfinished surface of the concrete floor slab,
- horizontal upper (ceiling) boundary as the lower unfinished surface of the concrete slab above the unit.
It is explained using the concrete (rather than the drywall) since many buildings don't have finished ceilings!

Now for the vertical boundaries, 
- The backside surface of the drywall on the exterior walls of each unit,
- In the vicinity of the structural walls and columns, (which shall not form part of the unit), the backside surface of the drywall that surrounds such walls and columns,
- In the vicinity of pipe and duct chases, (which shall not form part of the unit), the backside surface of the drywall surrounding such chases,

What about windows and exterior doors??
- In the vicinity of the windows and exterior doors, the unfinished interior surface of the windows and doors in closed position, the inner or unit side surface of the glass contained therein, and the unfinished interior surface of the window and door frames. 

Fireplace?
- the portion of the fireplace and flue lying within the unit boundaries described above shall form part of the unit.

To sum it up, in 238 Besserer and in many similar buildings you own the drywall and in. BUT always check your own status certificate!

Questions about your condo? Let's chat!

ArtHaus Sales Promotion - 20 Months Paid Condo Fees

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To celebrate 20 years of business, DevMcGill has announced a sales promotion of free condo fee's for 20 months if you purchase a unit at ArtHaus before March 20th, 2018.

There are only a few units that still remain, and occupancy is starting March 18th. If you are interested in ArtHaus before the promotion is over, lets chat.

For more information about ArtHaus including news articles, renderings, floor plans, and pricing, check out the ArtHaus page here.

St Charles Market - Sales Update

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St. Charles Market, located at 135 Barrette street, has officially sold 55% of the 54 units. Building completion is set for late 2018. Built by Modbox Developments, prices for remaining units start at $443,900 (for unit 207 the 911 sqft two bedroom two bathroom) up to $3.2M for Penthouse 3 (a custom designed 3,923sqft four bedroom, three bathroom). Penthouse 3 is the last available of the four penthouses. Automated valet parking is an additional $35,000, storage locker is an additional $5,000. Monthly condo fees are estimated to be $0.46sqft (plus parking $56 and locker $17). The last barrier-free unit (unit 202) is still available. 

For more information including all updates, floor plans, renderings and sales/construction updates regarding St Charles Market, visit the St Charles page here.

Top Condo Renovations for Maximum Return

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A common question that I am asked is regarding which renovations will bring the best return when looking to sell an Ottawa condo or loft. Typically my answer can be very specific to the unit, however, there are some general ideas that you should start with.

1. Painting. Without a question, one of the most common things that is suggested to a client is a fresh coat of paint on the walls and trim work. Sometimes there are hairline cracks in the ceiling or scuff marks on the trim, and for the cost, it is the typically the best thing you can do to prep the condo for sale. A nice light grey goes a LONG way!

2. Kitchen. While not usually the cheapest option, more units around the city are starting to have slightly dated cabinets and counters. While replacing the counters is (essentially) an easy task, replacing the cabinets is a serious overhaul and a lot of work. However, depending on the unit and the cost it can make a HUGE difference in the unit. Remeber that a condo doesn't have numerous rooms or places to spend money - so having the main room look its best does a lot for sale price.

2.5 Parts of the kitchen. Even replacing the handles or painting the cabinets will give a fresh and serious change to the space. You don't always need to spend a boatload of cash to get results. 

3. Flooring. One of the first things most buyers notice when they walk into a unit is the quality of the flooring and the shape that it is in. Do you have carpet? Has the dog put deep scratches all over? Shoe or furniture imprints throughout the unit? These are a huge turn off for most buyers. Resist the urge to throw down low-cost laminate flooring, as it doesn't last. However every unit and budget is different.

4. Bathroom. Similar to the kitchen, there are not many rooms to spend money in a small condo. However, a new cabinet, mirror, or sometimes even just a shower curtain will go a long way in revamping the feel of the en-suite bathroom and can cost a lot less then in the kitchen. Some "modern" buildings from the 2003-2005 era have a very "interesting" yellow mustard tile - again, a huge turnoff for buyers.

5. Closet System. One of the first things we did in our condo was to remove the current standard "builder" closet and replace it with a closet system. This allowed us to fit two to almost three times the amount in the same space. It completely changed the way we were able to use the space and in a condo, every inch counts. There are numerous options available from DIY at Homedepot or Lowes, to custom built options! 

6. CLEAN. Yes, it isn't exactly a renovation, but you would be surprised by the number of people who don't DEEP clean, or even just clean period before putting their unit up on the market. A buyer wants to feel like they can live there and they want to feel that YOU love living there. If you don't take care of the space it subconsciously tells them that you don't like it and that they won't either. Go crazy with the cleaning - it will pay for itself!

While every unit is different, these are typically what I seem to mention when a client is asking what the can do in order to increase the value for selling. Want to chat about your unit specifically or just get more information about selling your condo? I would love to chat and answer any questions that you have.

The Bowery - Sales Update

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The Bowery Condos and lofts, built by Richcraft Homes and located at 255 Bay Street, has sold 159 of the 246 suites (250 if you include the two guest suites, sales office, and the superintendents unit) or about 64% sold out. There are six of the floorplans that are fully sold out and numerous floor plans that are only available on lower floors. Pricing starts at $200,000 for the S2 model which is 401sqft, and only available on the 1st and 2nd floor. The largest unit that is currently available is the T3 model which is a two bedroom, 919sqft, located on the second floor for $418,000. All units include 4 European stainless steel appliances, washer and dryer in-unit, quartz counters, and hardwood flooring throughout the unit - all standard. 

The building is now complete and the units are available with an (almost) immediate closing period. Parking is available at $30,000* and lockers at $3,000. Monthly condo fees are priced at $0.36sqft and include heat, water, central air, etc. *Parking available for select units.

For updated floorplans and price lists, fill out the form below. 

Claridge Icon - Construction and Sales Update

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The Claridge Icon is well underway with construction crews currently pouring the 5th floor. Set for completion by April 2020, there is a rumor that they are moving ahead of schedule and occupancy might even start earlier. The 45 storey building will stand 485 feet high above the ground. 

The building is currently around 40% sold (124 of the 320 units), with only two of the twelve penthouse units still available. Some floorplans are almost all fully sold out like the Bertoia (2bed-855sqft), New Pacino (1bed 645sqft), etc. Sales are estimated to pick up significantly this year with the increased demand in the Ottawa condo market.

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Questions about pre-construction condos in Ottawa? Fill out the form at the bottom of the page and let's chat.

1451 Wellington - Sales Update

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1451 Wellington - the residences at Island park drive, are off to a strong start with just under 50% sold. There are still options for all sizes and price points, with a few looking slim. The building is a Mizrahi development that is expected to be completed in 2021. It is a 12 story building featuring only 93 units. Prices start at $479,900 for a one bedroom, up to $1.325 million and up for two bedrooms plus den. Parking is $40,000, storage $10,000, with monthly maintenance fee at 85 cents a square foot.

Click here to download a copy of the 1451 Wellington Sales Brochure.

Ottawa Condo Market Stats for January 2018

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Let's take a quick look at the numbers for the Ottawa condo market for January 2018 and how they stack up. ** Note: All data is provided by the Ottawa Real Estate Board. Condo data includes all condominium property styles.**

- There were 406 new condo listings to come on the market in January 2018, a decrease compared to January 2017 which saw 472.

- The average condo sale price was $263,744, a decrease from January 2017 by 8.6%

- There were 173 sales, an increase of 45% over January 2017 which only had 119

- 55% of the sales were priced between $150,000 and $249,999

- Active listings at the end of January 2018 compared to end of January 2017 saw a decrease of 27.2%... meaning there were 27.2% less available units at the end of January this year than last year. 

While we saw the average price decrease, it was mainly due to a lack of sales in the higher price point and more sales in the lower range. At the same time, we saw an increase in sales overall which leads to a lack of supply compared to the same time last year. Bottom line .... This is setting up for a crazier market this spring!

If you are thinking of selling, this is the time to get things started and listed. Less competition means a hungrier buyer! Email or call and we can chat about options and your specific unit.

Top Questions to Ask When Choosing Condo Listing Agent

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A quick Google search will reveal that there are about a million blog posts with the same "questions to ask your agent". How long have you been in the business, how many homes do you sell, what is your percentage of phone calls to sold signs... blah blah. Yes, these are great and you should ask away - the more you ask the better. That being said, here are eight questions to ask your agent when selling your Ottawa condo.

1. Do you focus on condos?
- You would have no idea the number of times I have heard wrong information given out by agents to clients about condos. Sure, we can't know everything - but even having a basic understanding should be expected. Example. I overheard an agent once tell his client that the condo fee rises the higher a condo is within a building. facepalm. Yes, my license allows me to sell a commercial property, and I have even taken a mandatory commercial property course - but I don't know everything about commercial deals and am not the best agent to handle a commercial deal. Condo living is different that freehold living, and buying/selling a condominium is taking freehold properties and adding extra complexities. The deals are done on different forms, there are extra conditions and clauses only for condominiums, and extra knowledge that you only know by "being in the trenches".

2. Have you sold my floorplan or sold in my building? 
- How familiar is the agent with your specific building? Some buildings I have sold every floorplan since it has been launched. Does the agent know where the amenities are and how to get around the building? Even details like having a good relationship with the concierge, security, or property manager goes a long way when we need something. 

3. Who is most likely to buy my condo? 
- One of the first steps when creating the marketing plan for each listing is sitting down and walking through who potential buyers are for the condo. Owner-occupied or investor? Older or younger. Married? Kids? Most buildings have a mix of people, but there is a general trend. Can the agent see the trend? Targeting these buyers, rather than wasting resources on buyers who are unlikely to buy it. Modern two story loft with stairs? Willing to bet it isn't being bought by an older couple looking to downsize. 

4. Other than units in my building, what units/buildings are our biggest competition?
- Having a knowledge of other units and other buildings will help you get a better perspective on the market and what to expect. Knowing that there are three hot units in a building across the street, will help when pricing. 

5. What are the largest issues we will have with selling the condo?
- You can't sugar coat everything and most places have something that isn't going to work for most buyers. Is it size? Is it the damaged floors? Is it the view, building, location, furniture, etc? Can you address it beforehand or mitigate the issues early on? 

6. How will you market the condo?
- Unlike a residential home, most buildings will not allow a for sale sign. Some buildings have banned open houses. The agent needs to have the tools (not just know about them) to sell in today's world. Facebook, Google, Instagram, targeted ads, VR.... what is the agent going to do in order to get in front of the right buyers? Do they have a plan to get the condo sold?

7. Do you do your own photography?
- The number of horrible photos that are used on the MLS blows me away. Hiring the best agent means having an agent who knows the value of highering a professional photographer. This should almost be the first question that you ask - it's that important. Have they done dusk shots? 

8. Do you have a handyman that has experience with condos?
- If you need any work done (such as replacing floors, or sometimes even painting), there are almost always extra steps that are needed before work can be done in the condo. Getting condo board approval is the most important, but even just keeping the neighbors happy can go a long way. Many trades are used to working on job sites that are loud and dirty, not in modern buildings with shiny elevators and neighbors who can hear everything. Some buildings have specific rules about construction waste or using the elevators.

Thinking about selling your Ottawa condo? I would love to chat more - fill out the form below!

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2018 Ottawa Condo Market - Predictions

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Last year I suggested that if you were to ask ten strangers about the Ottawa condo market you would likely get a pretty constant message that the market wasn't very pretty. Keep in mind it has been a rough number of years since things were booming. However, if you were to ask another ten people this year, I would say the message is going to be quite confusing. 

Since the 2017 Market report, things have certainly increased and we are seeing the condo market pick up. There are fewer listings and fewer DOM (days on market) than in past years. Buildings that had high numbers of listings, only have a couple (if that). The question could be asked if this is due to less supply of units or seller's pricing more realistically and selling. We are constantly seeing multiple offers on condos - again, is it due to lack of supply or more accurate pricing, or both? While the market is not red hot it is certainly better than in previous years. 

All of this while the government is placing more rules and regulations to calm the markets in large urban centers (Toronto etc.). While it will still be interesting to see how the most recent mortgage changes will affect the market - it is too early to tell but most anlysts are agreeing it will have little to no impact on the market especially in Ottawa.

CMHC is predicting that housing starts (new construction) in Ottawa will decline over 2018 and 2019 caused by a drop in apartment (condominium) starts (not freehold housing). This will continue to strengthen the demand for resale or existing homes, especially due to Ottawa's relative affordability. This affordability factor will also help to push up the price of Ottawa resale properties.

What to expect for the 2018 Ottawa condo market?
- A positive condo market. Slightly improved over the 2017 market but not as large of a change as was expected. This means much more balanced, or slightly more in favour of the seller. 

- Slightly increased sales numbers to last year with a modest increase in price. Building off of 2017 and continuing to see growth.

- More units sold to buyers located outside of Ottawa. Parents purchasing for kids while at school,  investors from Toronto, etc. Ottawa has a huge leg up in comparison to other cities when it comes to affordability. We will see more units purchased as investments since the "Ottawa real estate dollar" goes further. Add in the relatively slow and constant growth, it is seen as a safer investment than Toronto or Vancouver. 

- Tighter regulations in condo buildings for short-term accommodations (Airbnb) and more freehold units converted to supply the demand. There is a lot of money in short term rentals, and there is no shortage of people looking for it. 

- First-time buyers using more family money/credit. Borrowing from the bank of mom and dad will be more popular due to the changes in mortgage requirements. As well as parents being on title - to increase the ability for the child to qualify.

- Little impact from the Mortgage Stress Test. Due to Ottawa's lower average price point, the mortgage stress test will affect fewer buyers than in larger urban centers where the average price is much higher.

- More demand for units closer to downtown. The city of Ottawa has a huge push to calm traffic. This includes removing secondary lanes, increasing "no right turn on reds", increasing the number of bike lanes, advanced pedestrian walk at lights, etc. The goal is to make the streets safer - which is great. However, this is going to see an increase in the time it takes to get to and from work. This will also push commercial development in areas outside of downtown. 

- Messy period around marijuana regulations with landlords/tenants and condo boards. As well, what constitutes a grow-op and personal use with regards to disclosure when selling.

Thoughts? It is going to be an interesting year and I am looking forward to it! Bring it on.

Agree/disagree? Tell me below.

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Ottawa Senators at LeBreton Flats - What does it mean for you and Ottawa Real Estate?

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Last week the National Capital Commission announced that it signed an "agreement in principle" with RendezVous LeBreton to redevelop the 21-hectare area located in LeBreton Flats. RendezVous LeBreton is the winning bid to develop the land which is focused around a new NHL arena, 4,000 units of housing, schools, and public space. This agreement is another step in order for things to move forward however, there is still a very long way to go. 

Mayor Jim Watson, who is an NCC board member said “I have lots of ideas on how this thing can be derailed but I don’t want to share them because I want the thing to succeed. We’ve waited 50 to 60 years to get something on that site.” 

The largest hurdle being that both sides must still negotiate a final agreement, including proof that the developers have the financing that is required. At the same time, the federal government will also be asked to approve the undisclosed price for the cleanup, which is being deducted from the sale price of the land. While the City of Ottawa will also be required to approve any zoning amendments. 

In terms of timelines, the NCC said that the goal for construction is to begin in 2019-2020, or in 12 to 24 months. However, keep in mind that it took nearly two full years (April 2016) to get to where we are now. The NCC said it held 40 meetings and 120 hours of talks..... over two years!

IF... IF this moves ahead, will it be a positive for the area? Certainly without question. Aside from the fact that homes/condos in the immediate area are only steps to a LRT stop etc. The demand and then prices will certainly see a boom. There are over a dozen condo high rise buildings within a short walk - Cathedral Hill, The Gardens, the numerous buildings on Laurier, Claridge condos on Lebreton Flats, Zibi buildings, etc.  Especially since as of today some of these buildings are at a steal compared to similar units only minutes away.  These 

There is no question, that these values will rise if the Senators move downtown. Add in the LRT and it is a no-brainer. The question now is will it happen and when. How late can you wait before prices start creeping up? How much will values rise? 

Depending on your level of risk, LeBreton flats might be an area that pays off.

Want to chat about Ottawa real estate? Fill out the form below!

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SOBA - Construction Update - January 30th 2018

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Things are progressing quite nicely at SoBa. Construction is currently pouring the 23rd floor (seven more to go), with windows starting to be installed on the 2nd etc. There are reports of construction crews working over the weekends in order to catch up with the delays (weather, mainly low temperatures). 

For more information about SoBa Condos, check out the dedicated section with regularly updated construction and sales information. CLICK HERE

For more information or to chat with Matt Richling about pre-construction condos in downtown Ottawa, fill out the form at the bottom of the page.

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