Unique condo buildings - all style and no return?

A recycled shipping container in downtown Vancouver is the latest ‘unique housing development to appear, however, real estate agents are warning investors that odd shapes do not necessarily mean even numbers.
“From what we have seen, unique condos do not get higher rents,” says Amit Kalia, a Mississauga-based real estate broker. “Just because the building is trendy or different, it does not mean that it automatically demands a premium rent.”
Or indeed re-sale value. Despite the awards and the hype, Kalia says demand for the Absolute Towers in Mississauga is “not that good.”
Location, and not uniqueness, remains the key selling factor, says Monika MacMillan, sales representative with Bosley Real Estate.  
“It is a niche market, both for buyers and renters,” she says. “Such unique properties rarely come onto the market, and they do come with a big price tag. However, it does come down to the old adage of location, location.”
Former churches have become a popular building choice for condo developers of late. Academics point to decreasing congregation numbers and aging as one of the main reasons why religious groups are selling out. Last week, it was reported that converted condos in a Methodist church in downtown Toronto sold above its listed price at the $1 million mark.
“The pool of renters is relatively big, most of which are young professionals in the arts and design industry that actively look for unique spaces and willing to pay above the average rent for such properties.”

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