Condo community not worried about dip in Kitchener-Waterloo sales
In the first six months of 2013, 605 condominium units changed hands in Kitchener-Waterloo, according to the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of Realtors.
That number is down 9.4 per cent from the first half of 2012, but those who know the local market say it’s not a sign of a cooling market.
“On both sides of the market, we’re seeing growth,” says Jeff Gibson, an agent selling units in uptown Waterloo’s Red Condominiums and other developments.
Despite the drop in sales and a slowdown in the number of new condos being constructed, Gibson points to the underpinnings of the local condo scene as a sign that the market isn’t about to crash.
“A lot of the activity is being driven by owner-users, and we think that’s a really positive thing for the health of the market,” he says, adding that investors are a bigger force in condo sales in Toronto and other cities, leaving those areas more vulnerable to the whims of the market.
Another unique quirk to Waterloo Region’s condo market is that prospective buyers are less likely to buy a unit sight unseen than their peers in other cities – but that too is changing.
Gibson says he’s seen more units sold locally pre-construction in the past six months than in the previous three years.
“As those projects come to market, a lot of those sales become more evident,” he says.
Darryl Firsten is developing the Sage Condos in Waterloo’s university district.
He too says he’s not worried about the slump in sales, as there will be plenty of projects to come along to pick those numbers back up.
“We’re more focused on the product we’re selling as opposed to the market in general,” he says.
The first Sage Condos project is slated to be ready for occupancy in September, ahead of schedule, with further projects breaking ground this fall and in early 2014.