The condo market varies from city to city. Toronto is flush with buildings with 50, 60 or 70 floors with concierge, commercial components on the bottom floors, hotel suites and incredible amenities. As you come down the highway towards Niagara, you’ll find the condo landscape change to more modest sizes largely due to cost and supply.
Now, let’s look at condos in the Niagara Region…
In general there are a handful of different classes of condos in our area.
The Conversion: Many of our high(ish) rise condo buildings started out as rental buildings back in the 60s or 70s. These buildings were largely limited on amenities. If billiard rooms, workshops or underground parking are must haves, you may find these buildings won’t suit your needs. Since these were rentals, the suites are fairly sparse in terms of ‘extras’. Insuite laundry and ensuite bathrooms are not often found. Rather, there is communal laundry in the lobby area and often one 4 piece bathroom in the suite.
While these buildings offer less amenities, minimal aesthetics and smaller square footage, they are often more affordable (in terms of purchase price, property taxes and condo fees), with values being a fraction of the average price of a home.
The Rise of the 10 Storey Buildings: As we moved into the 80s, the cranes began to dot our local skyline. In Niagara Falls we had 5100 Dorchester plus a few others. In St.Catharines there were numerous projects, particularly towards the end of the decade. We had 162 Martindale (Grenadier Place), 7 Gale (Mill Run), 701 Geneva (Beachview), 81 Scott (Meadowvale) and 3 Towering Heights (Southgate) to name a few. As a local, it is hard to imagine driving around the city and seeing so many cranes and projects underway at the same time as this really was the last condo boom that we experienced.
These buildings are fairly consistent in terms of amenities. Swimming pools, underground parking, craft rooms, storage lockers, gyms and guest suites are often part of the package. The suites will likely have an ensuite bathroom, insuite laundry and various floorplan options with typically larger square footage than the conversion buildings. One consideration is that larger amenities = larger condo fees. 2 bedrooms suite in these buildings
New(er) Construction: Then began several years of drought as the cranes were packed away and our local market absorbed this new abundance of supply. In recent years, new construction has tended to be more of the mid-rise variety. While we have seen several in the 5 storey range, we have yet to see a ‘high-rise’ project completed. Many discussed but none completed.
Some mid-rise buildings include 330 Prince Charles (Welland), 2799 St.Paul (Niagara Falls), 8111 Forest Glen (Niagara Falls), 379 Scott St (St.Catharines) and 26 Wellington (St.Catharines). These are all prime examples of local Niagara mid-rise projects, each in the 5 storey range with amenities and modern finishes including insuite laundry, varied floorplans and common area facilities.
The Future: Currently there are several mid and high rise buildings on the radar. These are predominantly mid-rise however there are some high-rise buildings in discussion. There is a reason that we haven’t seen a high rise building in Niagara in many years. It is an extremely expensive construction method requiring serious financing and upfront costs that are more easily managed by larger, more substantial builders. Not better builders…just builder corporations that have access to many more millions of dollars up front. It will definitely be interesting to watch for the building cranes in the next few years.
As a consumer, what building is right for you?
How to decide between so many different options, ages and styles? One of the benefits in our market is we aren’t overwhelmed with massive numbers of buildings and dozens of condo management companies to keep track of. Your McGarr REALTOR® knows condos. If you’re in the market for a Niagara condo, make sure you contact us and we’ll connect you with one of our team.
For additional information on our condo market and all that is involved, be sure to visit our CONDOS page on this website. We are here to help.
Thank-you for visiting.