Archive for October, 2012

Why The Condo Marketplace is Now Different in Essex County

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

IMG_0781In the last three to five years the new condo marketplace in Windsor, Leamington and Kingsville has developed differently than it has in other parts of Ontario. Why is this so? Well in 2009, the auto industry in Windsor collapsed, taking down the entire local economy. It was the worst slump since the great depression. People in Essex County stopped purchasing new homes, new construction projects ground to a halt and existing new home inventory simply did not sell.
Times change. Skyrocketing real estate prices in places like Toronto, Kingston and Ottawa has lead to many people to now reconsider all that Essex County has to offer. Low real estate prices, milder winters, big name entertainment events thanks in part to the casino, a longer boating season and the areas proximity to all that Detroit has to offer.
How does all of this tie into our theme of the condo marketplace developing differently in this region? Well new construction starts are now “more nimble” to the needs of the marketplace. Very few developers are now willing to commit to starting new condos projects of 40, 60 or 80 units in size as they once would have in the past. Why is this so? Well it all has to do with the concept of absorption rates. In the context of real estate development this term simply means that developers need to know that there is a demand for their products they intend to put up before they start building on speculation.
So how are builders in this area now more nimble and how are things in this region developing differently? Well “new condos projects” as we typically know them  are now out of fashion and “new freehold townhouses” are now in.  In the ” Lakeshore Woods” subdivision in Windsor, for example,  almost everything now going up on street with names like Luxury, Firgrove and Clover are freeholds. The same trend is happening in Kingsville on street names like Woodycrest and Rockport and in Leamington on Anfred.

What is the difference between the concept of a condo that most people understand and the concept of freehold townhomes? Well freehold townhomes take the design look of blocks of six or eight or ten connected residential units all sharing common walls and all having private driveways with direct street accesses  and individual municipal addresses. In the “Lakeshore Woods” area once again there are over a dozen  streets all side by side built recently using this construction technique. With freeholds also there are no condo fees and you own the land.

Isn’t it easy to understand why new construction has gone this way? New home and condo builders in this area were on the verge of extinction only a few years ago and memories of those recent times are still fresh in their minds. This new style of building allows them to build on smaller blueprints. Less capital is tied up on site preparation costs, expenditures for common areas, visitor parkings areas, enterance ways and landscapings. Why not try building only six or eight units at a time? That way, if the markets are not as robust as what you first projected, you as a builder will still have some wiggle room. The other point is that on closing with freeholds a builder can get paid out. This helps to  avoid the process that many condo developers often face of having buyers renting out their new units until the entire project, or one big portion of it, gets registered. This is the new trend in condo living that  we now see happening in many areas of Essex County.

On a slightly different note we would now like to point out  how our website is so much different in design than the nationally viewed Realtors.ca website. Their website is not user friendly  to internet surfers trying to check out the condo marketplace in Kingsville or Leamington. Click onto the condos for sale link in Kingsville, for example, and only a half a dozen or so condos will pop up. Viewers are often left wondering if they are missing something. It’s only when you navigate your way to a residential tab to then find a tab referred  to  as attached townhouses that you might then then find some more available inventory. Unfortunately this process at times can prove to be very confusing and viewers are often left thinking their needs will not be found in this small town . Instead they may simply click away to the bigger city  of Windsor. That’s a bit of a shame for Kingsville.

Our approach is different. We try and show the entire inventory of everything built in the way of condos and freeholds even if at any particular point in time they happen not to be available for sale. That freedom to learn about the dept of the marketplace helps to give our viewers a better chance to make an informed future buying or renting decision.

The bottom line really is that Essex County has taken on a new design twist when it comes to condo living. Attached freeholds are now the way things are starting to go in a big way. Watch for the upcoming launch of our new Leamington/Kingsville website followed by one for the city of Windsor. Cheers