Condos fire sale offers up to 40-per-cent discounts

By Brian Morton, Vancouver Sun

In what's being marketed as a real estate liquidation sale, the Onni Group of Companies is offering 375 Metro Vancouver condos valued at $150 million at prices it says are discounted by up to 40 per cent from those originally advertised.

Onni executive vice-president Chris Evans said Thursday that Onni was facing high costs in carrying the units under current financing terms. "It made sense to sell our remaining inventory."

As well, Evans said in an interview, the sale makes sense because of the slowing real estate market.

"No one could ever have imagined the real estate market would drop as much as this. This is a reaction to the market that's slowing."

The sale represents all the company's remaining inventory in projects completed over the past 12 months, Evans said. "And this is not a pre-sale. Every home is completed, brand-new and ready to move into."


The one-day sale will take place on March 7 and the units will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis, he said.

The sale includes condominiums in Richmond (Flo); Port Moody (Suter Brook - Aria 1 &2, Room Loft Living and Libra); New Westminster (Victoria Hill and The Point); Port Coquitlam (South Verde); and Surrey (Escada).

Examples of the prices include:

  • Richmond: A 900-square-foot two-bedroom unit originally priced at $472,900, or $525 per square foot, is now approximately $360,000, or $400 a square foot.
  • Port Moody: A 1,106-square-foot two-bedroom-and-den originally priced at $453,900 is now approximately $340,000.

A 655-square-foot studio originally priced at $319,900 is now $240,000, and a 990-square-foot wood frame two-bedroom originally priced at $419,900 is now approximately $315,000.

  • Surrey: An 1,100-square-foot two-bedroom and den originally priced at $360,900 is now $260,000.
  • New Westminster: A one-bedroom originally priced at $270,000 is now approximately $215,000.
  • Port Coquitlam: A 1,000-square-foot two-bedroom originally priced at $389,900, or $390 a square foot, is now approximately $280,000, or $280 a square foot.

However, Evans said some of the units were selling at the original prices. "There's some demand for homes. The catch is that people are looking for a great deal.

"This is a rare opportunity to afford a home you thought you never could. This is an extraordinary time in the marketplace," he said, citing the combination of dropping prices and lower interest rates.

University of B.C. urban economist Tsur Somerville said the Onni sale is essentially a marketing tool.

"Technically, this isn't a liquidation sale," said Somerville. "That implies that they're going out of business. It's a marketing tool. When sales are low and there's existing product, you want to get people to your site.

"It also signals they don't think the market is turning around anytime soon."

Somerville said he hadn't heard of anything else like the Onni sale yet.

"I know of developers who are quietly marking down," he said. "But if people perceive that this as a success, you'll see more."


Adam Knight

Adam Knight

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