Difference of Condo and Co Op
Jordon Scrinko
Published by Jordon Scrinko
Last Updated On: May 21, 2024

Co Op Vs Condo: What’s the Difference and Which One Is Right for You?

As a real estate professional, I’ve seen firsthand how new housing options have emerged to enhance urban living standards. Among these, condominiums (condos) and cooperatives (co-ops) are the two primary choices for city dwellers.

Many prospective homebuyers may not fully understand the differences between condos and co-ops. Both offer unique advantages and challenges and understanding these can significantly impact your decision. Having guided numerous clients through the buying process, I can provide insight into which option might be best for you based on your needs and lifestyle.

Here is everything that you need to know about the two leading housing solutions before you start your search.

Quick Summary

  • The approval process for co-op purchases is generally more rigorous, with potential buyers needing to be approved by the co-op board. This can take several weeks to months, compared to the simpler and quicker process for condos.
  • Condos generally provide better investment potential due to their higher appreciation rates and easier resale process. Co-ops can be a good option for long-term residents who value community and stability over investment growth.
  • Condos tend to have a higher resale value and appreciate more quickly, with an average annual appreciation rate of 3-5%. Co-ops appreciate at a slower rate, typically 1-3% annually.
  • From my experience, condos offer more flexibility in ownership. You can rent out your unit, sell it easily, and enjoy greater autonomy. Co-ops often have more restrictive policies regarding rentals and sales.

What Is a Condo?

condoA condominium, commonly known as a condo, is a type of real estate property where individuals own individual units within a larger complex or building.

One of the most preferred options for housing in Toronto is condominiums. These are basically within a significant society, or a building and the owner will own their unit instead of the entire land.

Owners can access the common property, but they do not have any right over the ownership of the common areas. There are different spaces such as parking space, storage unit, etc. that you can purchase.

Maintenance

Owners of condos will have to pay a monthly maintenance fee that will be used for maintaining the common areas and amenities and facilities that are provided. The costs will also include the charges for security. In some cases, one might think that the cost for maintenance is high since not everyone will be using the common area or other facilities.

However, since the community of a condo has a lot of people, the maintenance fee is rightly divided so that residents get all the amenities at very affordable prices.

Restrictions

Living in a condo comes with several limitations as well. Residents might not be able to own a pet or rent out their unit to another party. In most of the condo societies, residents cannot make any changes to their units. Residents will have to abide by the by-laws of the condo corporation as well as the financial status.

Difference in costs

The rates of a condo on the basis of per square feet are usually higher when compared to co-ops. Across Canada, the cost of a condo rose 3.8 per cent year-over-year to $452,451 [1]. However, condos are easier to finance, as there is no underlying mortgage for a condo. Also, the condo fees are usually lower. Whereas, the property tax for condos is often higher when compared to co-ops.

Condos usually provide the residents with a society where there are a lot of people, which can be an advantage as well as a disadvantage. One can have some company almost at every point during the day.

Condos are usually a better investment as they are easier to sell and buyers don’t have the same restrictions as they would with buying a co-op.
Susanne Hudson
Huffington Post

However, with several people around, one might have to compromise on some aspects. But, seeing the current trend in Toronto, condos are in high demand, and a lot of people prefer condos over any other housing option.


What Are Co-ops?

co-opThere are some significant differences when it comes to owning a co-operative when compared to condo ownership. When you want to purchase a co-op, you will have to buy shares in the cooperation that has the rights of the building. Like condominiums, co-ops also have a board of directors which is responsible for making most of the changes.

Maintenance

The maintenance fees required for a co-op is comparatively lesser. However, even in co-ops, the maintenance fees are supposed to be paid. But, in this case, the co-op shareholders pay the monthly maintenance fee to cover the expenses of the building.

Restrictions

Unlike condominiums, one can make changes in their unit. As in a co-op, you will own shares in the corporation, and therefore, you are entitled to build and make changes as per the terms of the lease with the corporation. There are relatively fewer restrictions staying in a co-op as one owns a percentage of shares in the entire property.

Difference in costs

Co-ops are way cheaper than condominiums. One can get a co-op by complying with the norms of the board of directors of the corporation and if the board allows you to purchase a unit. Most of the co-ops can be bought for a price that is almost half of what one would be paying for the same space in a condo.

Moreover, co-ops provide buyers with more control and authority, as they will have individual shareholders. However, it is still challenging to obtain a mortgage for a co-op as a lot of lenders ask for a higher down payment.

Here’s a more in-depth discussion on the difference between condo and co-op [2].

Final Thoughts: Which One Should You Consider

There are different advantages and disadvantages to owning a condo or a co-operative. However, if you fix on buying a co-op, you will have to comply with the significant decisions made by the board of directors. It depends on the resident on what their requirements are. If one wants to be close to the major attractions and have several amenities available, condos are the best option.

When in doubt, it’s always best to work closely with a registered real estate salesperson so that you will be guided accordingly.

Visit Precondo for pre-construction condos and exclusive VIP deals.


References:

  1. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/condo-costs-second-quarter-hamilton-1.5206385
  2. https://www.thestar.com/life/homes/advice/2018/04/21/the-difference-between-a-condo-and-a-co-op-ask-joe.html.

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