Condo buying a beginners guide

Purchasing a condo the benefits and risks

Buying a condo apartments is typically the preferred starting home for singles, couples, and families. Condos are relatively cheaper than freehold properties, and the owner enjoys using the amenities offered, all managed by the condominium board. They also provide an urban lifestyle by situating themselves near points of interest, such as shopping malls, restaurants, and business centers. 

Lisa Patel, President of the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB), states that “the demand for condominium apartments has remained very strong.” Lisa goes on to state, “the increase in supply, largely attributed to investor selling as both the traditional and short-term rental markets softened along with the looming possibility of a City of Toronto vacancy tax, resulted in much more choice and bargaining power for buyers and a moderate decline in average selling prices.”

As enticing as condominiums look, potential owners must ensure that they are informed about every financial aspect of purchasing a condo, including recent statistics, condo fees, rules and by-laws, and hidden closing costs.

Condo Market Breakdown of Numbers and Figures

Firstly, understanding the statistics behind the condo market is key to knowing how, when, and where to best enter the market.

The following two charts show the trends through each quarter over the past four years for total condo sales and average condo prices in the GTA, with the exact values detailed in the table. Please note that COVID-19 has affected the real estate market and should be considered when interpreting the following data.


As shown, after accounting for seasons and COVID-19, the demand for condos is still rising, as with the average price. Within the last three months of 2020, almost 4 billion dollars have changed hands due to condominium transactions alone in the GTA, with more than 2.8 billion dollars coming from Toronto.

Read the complete market reports for the past four years here.

Condo Buying contract of womens manicured hand signing contract

What Goes into Condo Monthly Maintenance Fees

Every condominium building will charge different monthly maintenance fees, depending on services offered, location, building age, and other factors. These fees are non-negotiable and must be paid regardless of whether the owner decides to use all the services provided. Here is a non-exhaustive list of things to expect to be paying for.

Common Elements

Common elements are frequently described as “any element that is not living space (i.e. individual units).” These may include amenities, parking lots and garages, lockers, balconies, lobby and reception areas, bike storages, maintenance rooms, garbage disposal and storage, hallways and walkways, elevators and lifts, automatic and manual doors, windows, storage areas, and green areas.

This also includes services for said common elements, such as maintaining, repairing, cleaning, disposing, updating, upgrading, and landscaping.


Condo Amenities

A significant component of monthly fees will go towards the upkeep of any amenities the condominium building offers. This can include meeting rooms, pools and saunas, exercise rooms, party rooms, game rooms, security and concierge services, property management, rooftop patios, barbecues, and tennis and squash courts.

Condo Parking & Lockers

The unit may include a parking space and/or a locker depending on the condominium building. However, there are two other means for owners to use parking and lockers that are popular within condominiums:


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