Historically, condominium sales are often one of the more volatile aspects of the real estate market. Anyone that lived and or owned a condominium in the Collingwood or Blue Mountain area in the late 80’s or early 90’s can relate to this. Condominium sales and prices can change quickly and dramatically based on either the overall economy and or changes in buying and ownership demographics.
In 2008, MLS® unit sales of condos in the southern Georgian Bay area dropped 23%. Since that time, sales have rebounded to their pre-recessionary levels and with 250 individual sales to the end of August; sales in 2013 are running 21% ahead of last year. At this pace we are headed for what could be a record year for condo sales in our market with well over 350 units being sold. MLS® sales typically do not include the sale of new condominium units made by developers of which ion this area there are many. When these too are factored in, the local condominium market is indeed healthy and I will report on this in more detail in the upcoming issue of my Condo Communique´newsletter.
The condominium lifestyle offers a unique lifestyle from that of single family home ownership and with this form of ownership comes characteristics and responsibilities that condo owners and buyers need to be aware one and one of these is insurance.
Condominium corporations maintain a master insurance policy on the building(s) they are specifically responsible for and premiums for this coverage are a part of your monthly condo fee. This insurance covers damage to the building, the common elements ie: hallways, lobbies, parking garages as well a liability insurance in the event someone is hurt on the property. This leaves most owners and or buyers believing all they require are contents insurance similar to renters that will cover the personal belongings in their respective unit and nothing could be further from the truth.
In the event a condominium corporation is faced with an insurance payout stemming from lawsuit, the insurance deductible on such a claim may be spread amongst the owners via a special assessment. I suspect that in an effort to keep condo fee increases to a minimum, some condo corporations are increasing their policy deductibles in order to maintain or reduce premiums. If your bathtub were to over flow casing damage to a unit below, those damages may very well be charged against you. I have in fact been into local condos where the pipes froze and burst, causing extensive damage not only to the unit in question but also to the one beneath it. Any changes or additions that you have made to your unit, such as the installation of an elaborate home entertainment system which can run into tens of thousands of dollars needs to be protected. Any of these scenarios could cost a condominium owner significant money and insurance coverage should be taken to cover these potential risks.
If you currently own a condominium it might be advisable to review your coverage. For those looking to buy a condo. Make such that your REALTOR® includes a condition in your Agreement of Purchase and Sale enabling you to investigate the various insurance policies that are available to you and their respective costs before you commit to that purchase. If you have any questions please feel free to Contact Meand I’d be glad to assist you.