Failed condos frustrate industry pros

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A failed condo development project is highlighting a growing challenge for agents looking to get clients into affordable housing.

“There was some anticipation for it when it was first announced but it never really got off the ground and down the line, the interest, along with the CMHC, just wasn’t there,” Brian Knowles, an agent with Press Realty, told MBN.

His comments follow news that a low-cost condo development on Gottingen St. in Halifax was axed due to private sector lenders, as well as the CMHC, refusing to finance the project, which was presented by the Creighton-Gerrish Development Association.

Between the city’s Black Business Initiative, the Metro Non-Profit Housing Association, Harbour City Homes and the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia, the parties tried to lobby for the project to give low-income earners, who can only rent affordable homes like this, the chance to own.

The units were due to cost $130,000 to $200,000, but the group was turned out at almost every turn by both the government and the private sector.

However, the reality is that not only is there a lack of incentive for agents, but it didn’t fit the CMHC’s mortgage insurance program. Even a private-sector developer chose to back out for “financial reasons”

The news is also interesting because a mere few blocks away, the new Q Lofts, also in the Halifax’s north end, have sold relatively well at higher prices – $300,000 to $450,000.

Knowles said that while there are differences in the type of project, like the quality of the area, the land is more suited for co-op space as opposed to a condo development project.

“I think a lot of agent saw potential but lost interest because the project couldn’t get off the ground and secure the appropriate funding,” he said. “It was a noble goal that ultimately didn’t pay off.” 

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