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DIY new condos sold with only kitchen and bathroom

September 11, 2020

Vancouver designer Craig Stenghetta (L) with Jason Turcotte of
Cressey Development Group.

Vancouver developer Cressey Development Group is offering a stripped-down concept on a new East Vancouver project where the homes come with only a kitchen and a bathroom, in an attempt to lower prices.
The “open canvas” concept at the 13-storey, 154-unit Format project provides pre-sale buyers with a “blank slate and floor plan in which buyers will be provided a kit of parts” to eventually finish the unit, according to a Cressey release.
Cressey is working with Vancouver designer Craig Stenghetta, principal of Ste. Marie Art + Design, the design firm behind some of Vancouver’s top restaurants.
For example, buyers can add new walls for an additional bedroom or add a kitchen island or a closet. If the homeowner decides later that they want to reconfigure their space, new fixtures can be added or changed as the homeowner sees fit, according to Jason Turcotte, vice-president, development at Cressey, who said the project is targeted at younger buyers.
The stripped-down Format condos begin marketing in mid-September. They will be priced at approximately $1,000 per square foot, which translates to a starting price of $550,000 for a unit of around 540 square feet, with two-bedroom units in the “mid to high $700s” in the concrete tower.
Turcotte said these prices are similar to new concrete condos in suburban Burnaby, but “reflect value with a Vancouver address.”
Turcotte noted that, by the time a new condo suite is being finished, most of the heavy spending on a strata project—for land, construction, financing and various government fees—has already been made.
But the Format prices may be less than the replacement value in the city.
The current benchmark price of a resale condominium in East Vancouver is $600,800, according to August data from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.
Incentives are becoming more common in Metro Vancouver’s new condo market, where pre-sales were down 30 per cent during the second quarter of this year, according to Altus Group. Altus Group claims condo pre-sales have hit their lowest level since the summer of 2009.
In August, nearly 75 per cent of the 508 new condos launched as pre-sales in Metro Vancouver failed to sell, according to industry research firm MLA Canada.
A further seven projects with 1,113 new strata units—mostly concrete tower condos—will hit the Metro Vancouver pre-sale market in September, MLA adds.
A big problem for major tower developers, MLA notes, is a lack of offshore students and other foreign buyers who once dominated the new condo market but have virtually vanished during the pandemic.
Turcotte said the Format condos could be finished using Cressey-provided materials immediately, but buyers could also use off-the-shelf products from suppliers such as Ikea and take as long as they want to create “their own personal space.”

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