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Ian Watt Personal Real Estate Corporation - Sotheby's International Realty Canada

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IAN WATT Downtown Condos a Big Draw

Downtown condos a big draw

Walkability and low maintenance appeals to old and young

By Megan Cole, The Canadian Press

The condo lifestyle is drawing baby boomers looking to downsize and young adults seeking easy access to urban activities.

Ian Watt, a Vancouver real estate marketer, primarily sells condos in downtown Vancouver and has seen more people choosing condos because of the lifestyle and amenities they include.

"I think for my parents, and their generation, it is the ease of lifestyle," Watt said. "My dad doesn't want to clean gutters or mow the lawn anymore. They want to be able to lock their door and go somewhere warm in the winter like Cabo San Lucas, and not worry about anything, because there are gardeners and caretakers to look after those things."

For people who are considering potential mobility issues as they age, Watt said single-level living that comes with condos is an asset. Most condos include elevators, which allow residents to get in and out of their building without having to use stairs.

"For people thinking 20 years down the road to when they are 80, they can walk to anything," he said.

"I think for a lot of people after they retire there is the adjustment of 'now what do I do,' and for those who have chosen downtown condo living, like we find in Vancouver, there is always something to do that is within walking distance."

Walkability is also an increasing need for younger adults who are choosing a car-free lifestyle.

Watt said he sees more and more people choosing to live without a car, which he said can be beneficial both economically and health wise.

"There are so many people now that don't have cars and rent out their spots," he said.

"They walk to work and maybe once a month rent a car. There are so many people like that. Before it was a detriment if a building didn't have parking, but now there is always someone who doesn't want to have a car." While more people of all ages are being drawn to condo living, Watt said it is important to know about the restrictions and demographics of the building that buyers may be considering.

According to Watt, the number of studio apartments in a building can indicate how many young people live in the building.

"For people like my parents who are 65 and sold their house and moved to a condo, they don't want to move into a party building with a whole bunch of university students who are partying until 3 a.m.," he said.

"They want to be in a building with a demographic of people that are similar to them."

Because of the concentration of condos in one building, Watt said a building can resemble a neighbourhood with its own identity and qualities, which is important for buyers to consider before buying a condo.

"Imagine that every 20 acres of land in suburban Vancouver has about 200 houses. That is quite a lot of houses. But every building in downtown Vancouver has 200 condos," he said.

"You could imagine how one neighbourhood of 200 houses is so different from the next 200 houses. In those 200 houses everything is different and has its own vibe to it.

"That's how my job comes into play when I'm helping buyers who aren't familiar with the condo market. I help them find a building with a similar demographic of people."