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Low-Rise vs High-Rise Buildings: Know Before You Invest

Updated: Jul 22, 2021

If you want to buy a property in an urban area, you will likely look at a high-rise or low-rise property investment. High-rise buildings and low-rise buildings can be found in any city across Canada, and can be either residential or commercial depending on the zoning. Potential residents of high-rise apartments are either purchasing as their primary residence, or as an investment vehicle. While it's the common perception that high-rise buildings offer more in terms of living options than their low-rise counterparts, low-rise buildings are usually more affordable and thus could be a great investment opportunity for potential buyers.

Aside from price, amenities and location, weather and climate could also play a role in deciding between high-rise and low-rise buildings. How do you make your choice? Before you plunge in to invest, there are some things to know and consider.

What is a High-Rise Building?

A high-rise building refers to a building that adheres to a particular height measurement in terms of the number of stories. The exact yardstick varies from country to country. For instance, in British Columbia, a high-rise building is classified as a building that is at least 5 stories tall. Anything above 100m tall is categorized as a skyscraper. Low-rise refers to buildings anywhere from 1-4 stories in height. In some parts of countries, these are called garden apartments as they offer clusters of smaller spaces with greenery that is not compromised.

High-rise buildings

Advantages of High-Rise Buildings

High-rise buildings offer many advantages over low-rise or even single family homes, and justifiable attract many investors. Here are the pros of investing in a high-rise building:

  • Views - The most obvious advantage that a high-rise apartment has over a low-rise is the views. You can only get this feature in such a building, and higher floors demand a premium. Additionally, because of their height, higher floors in a high-rise are exposed to more natural light.

  • Location - High-rise buildings are often built in prime real estate locations in city centers or local centers of commerce. As population continues to grow in many major cities across Canada, high-rises have become a necessity in order to keep up with demand for housing near city centers. Therefore, locations in the city center make high-rises convenient residences for people who need to be near work.

  • Security and Convenience - Compared to a low-rise building, a high-rise will have better security features like doormen or professional security. In addition to this, high-rise buildings provide other facilities that offer additional convenience. Examples are gyms, swimming pools, game rooms and most coveted of them all, indoor parking.

Premium High-Rise Features

High-rise apartments have features that make your lifestyle easy and free from concerns. Here are some features that make them great investment properties:

  • Elevators - As opposed to their low-rise counterparts, all high-rise buildings come equipped with elevators, and often more than one. This offsets the inconvenience posed by an apartment on a higher floor, which would otherwise involve lugging groceries and/or furniture up and down many flights of stairs.

  • Maintenance and Utilities - New buildings in this category are prepared with cable wiring, fiber internet, and other updated tech perks. Maintenance issues get tended to on a regular and quick basis too, and properties have on-site managers and an office.

  • Vacancies and Leases - If you are a property investor looking to lease out your apartment, a high-rise is gives you more flexibility. Leases in high-rise buildings are common for short periods, and even month by month. Furnished accommodations can often also be found in these high-rise apartments, which could offer significant cost savings for short term leases.

Low-rise Buildings - Advantages

Not everyone thinks high-rise buildings have it best in the property investment market. Low-rise buildings offer their own set of unique benefits.

low-rise building

  • Parking - A low-rise building may have more parking space in the surroundings as they are typically located in more residential areas.

  • Proximity to the road - Low-rise properties are closer to the street and are easily accessible, especially for senior people. Differently abled people also find these apartments convenient to get in and out of. In the event of emergencies, like a fire, low-rise buildings offer a quicker exit route.

  • Residential and green- You will most likely find low-rises in residential areas with calmer, greener spaces as opposed to their high-rise counterparts. Traffic typically won't be a problem, as they are located outside the city center and major arteries. If you want a calm environment that exudes peace in an apartment setting, this is for you.

  • Affordable Options - Low-rise buildings are comparatively affordable living spaces and make good property investments if you wish to rent them to families on a budget or seniors. Young people often look to low-rise buildings for leasing out as they are more affordable than high-rise buildings.

The Choice is Yours

Whether you want to invest in a high-rise building or a low-rise building, in Canada, you are likely to see a return on investment either way. Both have pros and few cons. Each caters to a different property buyer or investor. You may think a high-rise offers more amenities and all the modern conveniences in a property, but since it comes with more expenses, it may be more difficult to lease out.

A low-rise building has fewer expenses incurred on its maintenance. As a result, you can keep your rental low and open to a broader rental market. Either way, the ensuring that the building you buy has been built by a reputable construction company, and is inspected before purchase, can save you the most time and worry down the line.

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