The Vancouver Sun
Concord Pacific Group has defied Vancouver's slumping condominium market by selling $45 million worth of homes at its latest False Creek waterfront development.
Using an aggressive marketing campaign – including offering 2.95-per-cent financing – Concord sold all 150 units of Phase 1 after last weekend's grand opening, which attracted 2,200 people to the sales presentation centre.
The preferred, three-year fixed mortgage, originally advertised for the first 80 purchasers, proved to be in such heavy demand that the 2.95 per cent rate was extended to another such 50 buyers, Concord Senior Vice-President Henry Man said.
The current posted bank rate for a three-year term is 6.60 per cent. "Due to the tremendous sales results for 1077 MarinaSide, we are evaluating the possibility of advancing the second phase ahead of our original schedule," Man said. "A lot of people were skeptical when we launched the project at this time during a flat market. Fundamentally, there's strength in this market for the right product."
According to Multiple Listing Service figures, 1,187 new condos have been sold in Greater Vancouver in the first nine months of this year, down 31 per cent from 1,723 sales in 1997.
In Vancouver's west side, which includes the downtown area, there have been 554 sales of new units, a 37 per cent drop from 883 sales last year. The west side's year-to-date average selling price for a new condo is $225,400, 3.9 per cent increase from $217,000 a year ago.
In Greater Vancouver, a new condo is selling at an average of $190,700 last year. Man said he is negotiating with several banks to seek similar low-cost mortgage packages for the MarinaSide Resort Residences' second phase, in which 195 units in a 32-storey highrise will be marketed next spring. In the sold-out first phase, purchasers paid from $169,800 for a 680-square-foot one-bedroom-and-den unit, to about $750,000 for a 1,900-square-foot three-bedroom townhouse. The financing was made available through Hong Kong Bank of Montreal, Bank of Montreal and Scotiabank.
Based on a $169,800 purchase with the conventional 25-per-cent down payment of $42,450, a mortgage of $127,350 would be required at closing, when the project is completed in the spring 2001.
At the current three-year posted bank rate of 6.60 per cent, the monthly payment, based on 25-year amortization, would be $861. At the guaranteed 2.95 rate, the payment would be $599, for a $262 monthly saving, or $9,432 over the 36-month term. Other incentives offered included a three-year leaseback option, plus gifts consisting of walking shoes, mountain bikes and water taxi passes. The glitzy promotional campaign has been applauded as effective by Vancouver marketing expert Roderick MacDonald, Associate Creative Director with Robertson Pick Advertising.
In the past eight years, Concord has completed and sold 15 projects, housing more than 2,000 residents, as part of its ongoing $3-billion redevelopment of the former Expo site. Man recalled that Concord's last weekend sellout occurred in February 1996, when 60 units of its Yaletown Limited Edition were snatched during the grand opening. Phase 2 of the $70-million MarinaSide complex will consist mainly of one-bedroom and den units, starting at $147,000 and two-bedroom and den for about $300,000. Three-bedroom penthouses will be offered at $650,000.