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Buying & Selling Tips

Condo Maintenance Fees by Size and Age of Unit

By Frank Schliewinsky November 7, 2013

If anyone in the market for an apartment condominium in Greater Vancouver hasn't heard about depreciation reports, they need to get clued up fast:

As of next month, every strata corporation will have to file a "depreciation report" that includes a 30 year budget for repair, upgrades and maintenance. This is to ensure that contingency funds are at levels required to cover ongoing repair, maintenance and upgrades. And the contingency fund receives its funds from the monthly strata maintenance fees paid by every strata owner.

So if you're in the market for an apartment condo, how much should you expect to pay in monthly condo maintenance fees? The amount will depend on the age of the building, location, project amenities and the general condition of the project. As a guide, the tables below show the average monthly strata maintenance fees for high-rise and low-rise projects in Greater Vancouver sub-markets. Projects are broken down into new projects now marketing using MPC Intelligence's TRAC data,and MLS® data for condos sold over the past three months.

Greater Vancouver condo and townhouse strata fees by size and age of unit

Average monthly strata maintenance fees for new high-rise projects now marketing range from a high of $0.40 per square foot in Downtown Vancouver to a low of $0.28 in Coquitlam- Port Moody- PoCo. Except for Burnaby, average strata fees for MLS® resale high-rise sales tend to be higher than the fees for new projects. Not many one-year-old high-rise units were sold on MLS® in the past three months, so these averages are perhaps not a good indication of fees in newer buildings. Most of the MLS® high-rise sales are in the 6- to 20-year age groups, and for some markets there's quite a difference in strata fees between projects in these age groups and new projects.

Monthly strata fees for low-rise projects tend to be less than those for high-rise projects, and there's also less difference by market area. The average monthly strata fee for new low-rise projects now marketing ranges from a high of $0.32 per square foot in East Side Vancouver to a low of $0.23 in Burnaby. In almost all the low-rise markets, monthly strata fees for older units sold through MLS® are higher than the monthly fees for new projects. In Burnaby, for example, the monthly fee for low-rise units between 6 and 20 years old is almost 40% higher than for new units.

So what can a prospective buyer do with this information?

The fact that there are differences between markets and between new and older projects is not necessarily an indication that the strata fees are not an accurate reflection of the true cost on maintaining the property. But prospective buyers need to closely examine major variations from average strata fees or else they could find themselves paying a lot more than they initially expected.

In-depth regional analysis here. Condo/Townhouse Price Calculator here.

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