Condominium development in Winnipeg: some aspects of the dynamics of an emerging form of home ownership

Thumbnail Image
Hramiak, Roman John
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Condominiums are a relatively new but increasingly important form of home ownership and a growing segment of the housing supply of urban areas across North America. The objective of this research is to investigate the spatial elements and other characteristics of this type of housing and the nature of its owners in one Canadian city, Winnipeg, Manitoba. In addition to this primary objective, the thesis seeks to understand the forces which have affected the popularity of condominiums, their role in the changing housing needs of the population, and the possible implications of the growth in condominium popularity with respect to the city's housing supply and possible future government policy requirements. A comparative method of analysis is employed. Specifically, data on the number of condominiums, their locations, and their rate of growth are compared to similar information on other types of housing. Furthermore, demographic information and characteristics of Winnipeg's condominium owners obtained through a survey conducted for this study are considered in relation to the findings of an earlier Winnipeg study and national surveys conducted in Canada and the United States. The analysis shows that the number of condominiums has increased steadily while other types of housing starts have been declining dramatically. The condominium supply in Winnipeg is dominated by conversions of rental properties rather than newly constructed units. Consequently, the locations of condominiums in Winnipeg parallels the locations of rental properties. Information gathered in the survey of condominium owners shows that They are almost exclusively older couples whose children are now grown and have left home. These older couples have sold their single family homes in order to buy smaller homes that require less maintenance, while they retain the benefits of home ownership. Comparison of this survey with the findings of the other earlier surveys of condominium owners exhibits a significant disparity. The majority of owners in the other surveys were younger couples and households, just starting their families and making their first home purchase. The research has identified a major conflict between condominiums and the city's housing supply. Condominium development is depleting the rental housing supply in Winnipeg. The rapid decline in apartment vacancies and the imposition of rent controls are an acknowledgement of a growing problem for residents who cannot afford or do not wish to own their housing, and for the City government which must ensure an adequate supply of affordable rental housing for its residents.