In today’s highly competitive condo market, the main differentiators for prospective buyers will always be location, space and pricing. Still, with the marketplace saturated by ads showing modern design concepts, it’s sometimes hard to make one stand out from another. Thus, the quest for a unique and alluring product has led many premier condo developers to come up with innovative common space facilities and services that afford today’s condo shopper conveniences likely not possible in the typical single-family address. From fitness centers and wine cellars to daycare programs and guest suites, developers are meeting demands of busy condo dwellers with amenities that are anything but common.
Common spaces or common areas are those portions of the property not owned individually by unit owners, but in which an indivisible interest is held by all residents. This generally includes the grounds, parking areas, recreational facilities, and external structure of the building.
With buying trends gravitating toward smaller suites, new condo owners can now enjoy a tailored unit, and still reap rewards of cool and convenient onsite amenities without having to forfeit any living room. This also means not having to give up things important to them in limited free time, such as hitting the gym.
Social or party rooms which residents can reserve and use are becoming popular among younger buyers who like to have friends in to hang out or watch a movie, meaning they no longer have to entertain exclusively in their suite. Many mid-rise condos also offer landscaped rooftop terraces, which are often appointed with ample patio furniture and BBQ grills.
Car and bike share programs, where residents can easily and quickly book a vehicle or bike for their use on an as-needed basis, have also grabbed the attention of condo shoppers. Such programs allow them to gain many of the benefits of a private vehicle or bicycle without the costs and responsibilities of ownership.
The main upside to the aforementioned amenities is that they require relatively low maintenance in comparison to other common space features. For example, with something like a theater, the most you have to do is make sure there is no popcorn on the floor. In the past, condo builders may have dived into perks like pools and hot tubs – some still do – but these extras come with a price tag and tend to drive up condo fees, not to mention the increased concern over issues like insurance and maintenance.
Before investing in a condo with fitness facilities, a business centre, party/recreation room, billiards room, hair salon or coffee shop, consider how important each amenity is to you. There is no right or wrong answer to this; there is just a better or best option for you. Amenities like the fully equipped fitness centre or tennis court may sound prestigious and exclusive, but if you don’t foresee yourself using them regularly, it may not be worth the extra money it will cost you in condo fees.
Also keep in mind that most condos are located in areas thriving with businesses and amenities. Condo dwellers in large part are keen on taking advantage of what urban experts refer to as the “20 minute circle” – an area in which people live, work and play. Condo living is essentially synonymous with convenience. Being able to get to work, complete errands and socialize in a close vicinity is precisely why people decide to move into a condominium. A fitness room might not seem like the most valuable perk if there is a gym very close by. So having every feature and facility under the sun in your building, while prestigious and ultra-convenient, isn’t always necessary.
At the end of the day, luxury and convenience can be very subjective concepts, so it’s really up to the prospective buyers to determine which amenities suit their needs and wants. Ultimately, whether it’s prestige or prudence you covet, today’s market has something for you. Happy hunting!