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Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Regional Sections > Canada > Alberta & British Columbia > SSP: Local Vancouver > General Discussion

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  #1  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2012, 6:55 AM
whatnext whatnext is offline
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Vancouver's Coming Condo Apocalypse

Frances Bula has a thought provoking article in Vancouver Magazine about troubles ahead as our condo stock ages. Well worth a read:

..“What I see is that we Canadians have never foreseen the consequences of living together in a common property. We don’t have a system that allows people to understand what to do at the end of their unit’s life.”

End-of-life condo decisions are coming, and they’re coming quickly, says Tony Gioventu, president of B.C.’s Condo Homeowners Association. “We have a number that are coming up to the point where it’s not worth renovating them. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are up to 3,000 buildings up for redevelopment in the next five to 10 years.” ...

http://www.vanmag.com/Real_Estate/Sh...er_Condo_Today
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  #2  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2012, 7:39 AM
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I've wondered about this myself, since I live in a 37 year old wood frame/aluminum wiring condo on a street that's being rapidly redeveloped. Most of my neighbours are crabby old seniors just waiting to die and wouldn't accept any buy out.

Every other old building near us seems to be going through major overhauls. We're planning on totally replacing our plumbing next year. As boring as it sounds, that is all that will probably happen for most buildings. Very few are total write-offs.
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Old Posted Mar 7, 2012, 5:26 PM
Zassk Zassk is offline
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Surely condo end-of-life is not a new problem for the world. How have places like New York handled this?
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Old Posted Mar 7, 2012, 6:30 PM
dreambrother808 dreambrother808 is offline
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oh noooooo.....
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  #5  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2012, 7:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zassk View Post
Surely condo end-of-life is not a new problem for the world. How have places like New York handled this?
The majority of NYC's older multifamily is co-op rather than strata. There you own a share, rather than an actual unit. Also the majority aren't the less durable wood frame.

In my experience a lot of condo owners think its going to be some low cost, nearly maintenance free existence. Its not. Having been through it I would never buy another condo, especially in Vancouver's investor-heavy buildings.
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Old Posted Mar 7, 2012, 8:31 PM
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Originally Posted by whatnext View Post
The majority of NYC's older multifamily is co-op rather than strata. There you own a share, rather than an actual unit. Also the majority aren't the less durable wood frame.

In my experience a lot of condo owners think its going to be some low cost, nearly maintenance free existence. Its not. Having been through it I would never buy another condo, especially in Vancouver's investor-heavy buildings.
No kidding. By and large, they're totally averse to anything that raises their maint fees and capital contributions. Penny smart and metric ton foolish.
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Old Posted Apr 11, 2012, 2:06 AM
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Frances Bula has another article on Cypress Gardens in North Van in today's Globe & Mail. Definitely a cautionary tale for anyone considering buying a condo, especially an older one:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/...rticle2396711/
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  #8  
Old Posted Apr 11, 2012, 2:17 AM
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I'm stuck myself with an EOL condo. Perhaps next upmarket I might be able to at least break even, I'm about $30k in the red currently including what I've put in for renovations. On the upside, if I hang on to it long enough, it'll be a great investmen, but seeing how strata has spent hundreds of thousands in the past five years including $62k this year replacing single pane windows with double pane types, I think they expect the building to be around for another 35 years.
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  #9  
Old Posted Apr 11, 2012, 4:44 PM
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How are buildings in Europe lasting 2,3,4,500 years?! And we're talking about EOL Condos that aren't even 50 years old?!
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  #10  
Old Posted Apr 11, 2012, 6:01 PM
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Most buildings in Europe don't last hundreds of years though. The ones that do have had sizeable money dumped into them on regular intervals, the same could be done here if we wanted. Having modernized a couple of century old buildings in Europe it's not unusal to spend more money on renos then you did purchasing the building. In one case it cost 3times the cost of the building to bring it up to standards required for anyone to want to live in it. Bringing in Electric, running water, sewer isn't even the biggest cost, opening windows, raising floors, repairing fallen walls are very expensive and hard to find people that still work with stone.
Their isn't really any buildings that are centuries old and still liveable that haven't had major work done to them. The difference is they don't seem to mind spending money repairing/upgrading instead knocking down and starting over. In fact there is prestige in living in an older historical building and they can charge a premium for it.
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  #11  
Old Posted Apr 11, 2012, 10:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sacrifice333 View Post
How are buildings in Europe lasting 2,3,4,500 years?! And we're talking about EOL Condos that aren't even 50 years old?!
Building from brick and stone, which doesn't rot like wood.

I don't think most buildings are that old. But all of the houses I ever lived in from childhood until moving here were stone or brick, and were at least built from the early 20th century - when there was a huge middle-class home building boom.

Yes there are older homes that are a century or more old. Again, built mostly of stone, or brick/mortar. The tudor homes (the wooden ones) are mostly destroyed (wood rots), but the preserved ones have become "desireable" for their history, but are often needing of all the mod-cons (e.g., they are draughty, cold and wet). So upgrading them means removing the "historical" look and feel.

* * *

Bottom line - wooden condos will eventually fall apart and need very expensive renos. Concrete ones will fare much better, but still will need renos. The strata model is a big long-term headache. It's fine for short-term and can work OK for a medium-term investment in the right building.
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  #12  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2012, 1:14 AM
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hit the nail on the head. buildings in europe from 300 years ago were built to last with very durable materials. here its all particle board and 2x4's. nothing is designed to last more than 25 years.
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Old Posted Apr 12, 2012, 1:40 PM
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Living so far away, I cannot comment with any specific examples other than those given (like the Globe article) ... but it would seem that condo owners are rapidly falling into roughly two groups: those who live in wooden, largely suburban, condos, and those who live in newer, concrete / steel buildings and towers. The latter will keep their value much longer. The wooden ones won't and any such "investment" in the hope of upgrading to a more recent condo may become very difficult due to declining market value.(if it isn't already). Simplistic perhaps, but it's just a distant observation.
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  #14  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2012, 3:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by worldwide View Post
hit the nail on the head. buildings in europe from 300 years ago were built to last with very durable materials. here its all particle board and 2x4's. nothing is designed to last more than 25 years.
A lot of European building are reconstructed within a shell. Case in point, a photo I took of Marconi House in London a couple years back (I thinks its Marconi House, memory a bit fuzzy)

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