How to pick the ideal direction when buying a pre-sale condo.

**Disclaimer: Any comments on this site are my personal opinion only. Always consult professional when making buying decision. Writer is not responsible for any errors or omissions, nor responsible for any financial losses that anyone might experienced as a result, deemed directly or indirectly, from any recommendations in any articles in this blog.**

With the hotness of Vancouver condo pre-sale market, I always advise my clients to do their homework before the scheduled presale date/appointment to ensure they get the best units they want.

Which direction you want your condo to face really depends on your life style and personal preference. In this post I’ll explain which direction you should pick based solely as an investor point of view, with decision based on maximum resale value of your condo.

In my analysis below, I assume the subject condo tower has unobstructed views in all directions located anywhere in Greater Vancouver Area. (because it is obvious if there’s another tower existing or to-be-built in that direction, you will want to avoid that.)

First of all, all condo units in Greater Vancouver Area facing South will get all the sunlight exposure. And all the units facing North will NOT have direct sunlight into their units any time of the year. (You can confirm my findings by checking out any condo on a sunny day at noon) East facing units will get sunlight in the morning and west facing will get sunlight at sunset.

In addition, the largest ethnic group that buys pre sale condos (and the same ethnic group will most likely will buy it off you when you decided to sell your unit) prefers sunlight, particular they like sunlight in the morning. If you go to presentation center on 1st day of selling, you will notice all the south facing units get snapped up first, with SE being the most popular direction and SW being the 2nd most popular direction.

This photo was a live update few hours into 1st day of sales for one of the project. The units are shown clockwise starting from S, S/W, W, W/N, N, N, N/E, E, S/E, S. You will noticed both S facing units (most left and most right columns) are most popular, and the N facing units (the middle few columns) are much less popular.

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In this case if you came to me before and show me the floor plan and ask for my advise, I would have told you go after the S, S/E, or S/W units as their will be the most popular. Just like anything in life, the most popular an item is, the higher price people are willing to pay for it. From all the pre sale pricing I see, many times I felt the developer did not incorporate the full “south facing premium” in its initial pricing. This has resulted in very similar pricing for an equivalent unit facing either north or south direction.

I can ensure you, all else being equal, all units that has south exposure will fetch high re sale price as it will have higher demand than equivalent north facing units. If you talked to me and picked a south facing unit, you are already at least thousands ahead than the investor who chose the north facing unit.

So you might want to ask, hey Colin if both SE and SW facing condo units are same plan/price, which side should I choose? I’ll say if the tower has air conditioning, go with SW. If no air conditioning, I’ll recommend SE as SW might get too hot in the afternoon. Some of my clients told me they could not even nap during the day and some has to put up cardboard to block the sunlight!! (which is against strata bylaw btw)

Word of caution, I always tell my clients to think twice before buy units that facings main road or, even worse, skytrain track. Nowadays I felt units that should be very tough to sale are snapped up by buyers almost instantly for fear of missing out. I always remind my clients the market will eventually cool down and those facing the “wrong” directions will take that much longer to sale and also at a lower price, a double whammy. The perfect example of this was all the towers near Joyce station. Back it the days I was shopping for a unit there when the market was still normal. Those north facing units took forever to sell as they have no sunlight exposure AND face the skytrain track. On the other hand the south facing units are selling much faster and at a higher price too.

Another benefits of south facing units is that statistics have shown units that face south incur lower energy cost which I suppose is due to above average sunlight.

For those who haven’t seen, this is the view of my little condo facing SE, which tons of sunlight which I like very much.

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I hope you like my first ever post on my first ever blog of my life. Any feedback is welcome.

Happy belated New Year!!

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