Condo vs house living: which is better (for you)?

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Owning a condo offers numerous benefits over owning a standard house. While the condo lifestyle is not ideal for everyone, more and more people around the world are choosing to make the jump and move into a condo community. Let's take a look at the pros and cons of condo ownership compared to buying a detached or semi-detached house.

Affordability

Whether you're looking for a new investment property or your first home, affordability is a chief consideration for all real estate deals. Generally speaking, condos are more affordable than detached homes in the same area, making them a more accessible option for individuals, young couples and families, and retirees looking to downsize.

While a standard 20 percent deposit is still needed for conventional home loans, a much smaller 3.5-10 percent down payment is available for FHA loans and other non-conventional lending arrangements.  

Capital growth

Real estate is a great way to build equity over time, with property known to perform better than most other asset classes when viewed on a long-term basis. Both condos and traditional homes are capable of capital growth, with the amount and speed of growth widely dependent on the location, property condition, and economic trends in the surrounding and wider area.

While detached homes are known to outperform condos when it comes to capital growth, a well-chosen unit in a great community and location can appreciate just as fast or faster than a detached dwelling.   

Central location

Condos are often located in central inner-city neighborhoods, which makes them a great option for people who want to live close to the action. Whether you're looking to reduce your commute time, live closer to restaurants, or enjoy city nightlife without the taxi bills, condos make it possible for everyday people to enjoy the urban lifestyle.

A detached home or townhouse in the inner-city is a luxury that few people can afford, with condos making it easier for people to live where they work and play. On the other side of the coin, peace and quiet is much easier to come by when you live in a traditional suburban home.   

Access to amenities  

The condo lifestyle is not all about the location, it's also about the amenities and the community of people who use them. When you live in a condo, you're likely to have access to a pool, a gym, a business centre, and countless other amenities depending on the building in question.

While few people could afford these amenities if they were living alone, condo residents almost take them for granted. There is a price you have to pay for the use of condo amenities, however, with monthly condo fees a significant expense on-top of your mortgage payments.  

Less maintenance

Condo fees are designed to cover the repair and maintenance of the condo building, along with the common assets and amenities used by the condo community. While these fees can be significant, they are associated with a number of tremendous lifestyle advantages.

When you live in a condo, you don't have to waste your weekends mowing the lawn or painting the deck, with all of these jobs taken care of. While you lose some of the freedoms of traditional home ownership, such as choosing your own outdoor furniture or deciding your own maintenance schedule, you will benefit from a reduced workload, less stress, and a more manageable maintenance budget.