pre-construction condo on the left and stacked-townhouse condo on the right side

Pre-Construction Condo Vs Stacked Townhouse: Which Is The Better Option?

When it comes to finding the perfect home, the options seem endless. If you are considering buying a home at its pre-construction phase, two popular options will stand out for you in GTA: pre-construction condos and stacked townhouses. 

While you might have to wait for a few months to a couple years to move in, you get to enjoy a brand new home with modern finishes and appliances. 

Depending on your lifestyle and preferences, one is of course more suitable. But how do you narrow down your choice? We hope this blog offers you clarity on features and characteristics of both, condos and stacked townhouses, and help you make the best decision for you. Let’s get started …. 

What is a Condo?

A condominium or more commonly known as a condo, is a type of residential property where individual units are owned by residents, while common areas and amenities like gym, pool, and parks are shared. These buildings are either low-rise, mid-rise, or high-rise and always have an elevator for convenience. 

Each unit typically has its own separate entrance and may vary in size and layout. Condo owners pay monthly maintenance fees to cover the upkeep of shared spaces and amenities.

What is a Stacked Townhouse?

On the other hand, stacked townhouses are multi-level residences that are stacked on top of one another, usually in rows. At first, they look like a traditional townhouse since they are usually 2 or 3 storey tall. 

Each unit has its own separate entrance, similar to a traditional townhouse, but they are vertically stacked to maximize space and density. Stacked townhouses may share common elements such as exterior walls and roofs but often have their own utilities and outdoor spaces like balconies or patios. A stacked townhouse will not have a lobby or elevator since each unit has its own exterior door. 

two pre-construction condos next to one and another

Let’s talk about the pros and cons of pre-construction condos

Pros of buying a pre-construction condo

1. Access to modern amenities 

Pre-construction condos, especially in bigger cities like Mississauga, Oakville, and Hamilton often come with a range of amenities, such as fitness centers, swimming pools, co-working spaces, and various lounges. These amenities come in handy during winters when going out in the cold is not an option and you can access them without leaving the comfort of the condo building. More and more newer developments are also adding amenities for kids and pets, which makes the condos more family-friendly than they used to be.  

2. Easy to maintain 

Living in a condo means less maintenance responsibility for individual unit owners. Since common areas and facilities are managed by the condo association, you can say goodbye to tedious tasks like lawn care, snow removal, parking garage clean-up, and exterior maintenance, freeing up your time for other pursuits. A part of your condo fees is directed towards a fund for emergency or regular major maintenance. 

3. Better security 

Condos offer the best security features compared to all kinds of dwellings in Canada. They are equipped with gated entrances, surveillance cameras, 24/7 concierge, and on-site security personnel, all of which offer you a peace of mind, especially for those living alone or in urban areas where security concerns may be higher.  

4. Easily accessible 

Condos are often located in desirable urban locations close to amenities, entertainment, restaurants and bars, and public transportation and highways. This advantage is equally beneficial for young families and older adults downsizing as they can do most chores on foot. 

5. Easy to rent 

Since it meets all criteria for location, comfort, and convenience, condos are rented out within days of listing them. Set a reasonable rent and provide your tenants with the right living conditions. 

Cons of buying a pre-construction condo

1. Monthly Condo fees 

While condo living comes with the benefit of shared amenities and maintenance, it also comes with monthly maintenance fees. These fees can vary depending on the size of the unit, the amenities offered, and the location of the building. For newer pre-construction condos in the GTA, we’ve seen monthly fees range between $450 to $700. 

2. Limited privacy

Newer condos have thin walls, which means your neighbors can easily hear you. This means you’ll have to compromise on quietness and personal space. If you have a bad neighbor, they will constantly nag you to keep the voice down, even if you are just walking across the room.  

3. Lack of control over exterior decor

Condo owners have limited control over decisions regarding the building and its amenities. Major decisions are typically made by the condo association or board of directors, which may not always align with the preferences of individual unit owners. However, with newer condos made with floor to ceiling windows, the exterior is likely to remain unchanged. 

4. Potential for special assessments

As we mentioned earlier, that part of your monthly maintenance fees are kept aside for special repairs. If that fund doesn’t cover the cost, you might have to make a big one-time payment upwards of $1,000 to cover them. 

5. Long wait time for elevators 

With high-rise buildings nowadays going over 30 storeys, you’ll be waiting 2 to 10 minutes for the elevator. Add kids and pets to the mix and it’ll feel like a never-ending task. 

6. Lower appreciation value 

Condos don’t appreciate as quickly as townhouses or detached houses do for all the cons we just mentioned. Areas where condos are located are also high traffic areas and a turn off for most buyers. 

Matt black and white siding on stacked townhouse condos

Let’s talk about the pros and cons of pre-construction stacked townhouse

Pros of buying a stacked townhouse

1. Opportunity to own the space 

Stacked townhouses offer the benefits of homeownership with the added space and privacy of a traditional townhouse. Since they are more affordable than traditional towns, first-time home buyers find themselves gravitating towards this option. With multiple levels, you have the freedom to customize your living space to suit your needs and preferences, whether it’s adding a home office, a guest room, or a recreation area.

2. Enjoy perks of outdoor areas 

Unlike condos, stacked townhouses often come with private outdoor spaces such as balconies, patios, or rooftop terraces. Whether you want to enjoy al fresco dining, gardening, or simply soaking up the sun, you have your own little outdoor space without having to leave your home. 

3. Better sense of community

Living in a stacked townhouse community feels like a close-knit group of friends. Many such communities host social gatherings and events where you can meet your neighbors. 

4. Higher potential for appreciation

Stacked townhouses, especially those in up-and-coming neighborhoods or desirable locations, have the potential for appreciation over time. As the surrounding area develops and property values increase, your investment in a stacked townhouse may yield significant returns.

5. Easily access the outdoors 

Just a couple steps and you are out of the house, unlike condos where you need to wait several minutes for the elevator. This is a big advantage if you have pets and need to take them for a walk multiple times a day. 

Cons of buying a stacked townhouse

1. Limited number of amenities

Stacked townhouses may offer some shared amenities such as parking areas or green spaces. However, if you prioritize access to amenities like gyms or swimming pools, a stacked townhouse may not be the ideal choice.

2. Owners are responsible for maintenance

Unlike condos, where maintenance tasks are typically taken care of by the condo association, stacked townhouse owners are responsible for maintaining their individual units as well as any outdoor spaces. This means you have to take over landscaping, exterior repairs, and snow removal, which can add to the overall upkeep costs.

3. Parking can be tricky 

With limited parking options, you might find it difficult to find a designated spot unless you purchased one at the time of booking your pre-construction unit. Despite that, your guests will find it bothersome to find a parking spot or would need to park in tight spaces. 

4. Not best suited for people with mobility issues 

With your home extending over multiple levels, if you are elderly, with mobility issues or have someone living with you, they’ll find it challenging to carry on with everyday tasks. 

Consider your options carefully and talk to friends and family who’ve purchased newly constructed condos and stacked townhouses in the last few years. If you’re interested in exploring projects in Southern Ontario, our team at That Pre-Construction Guy is more than happy to send you some! Just send us a message.

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