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Victoria developer launches unique first-time buyer program at downtown's Mod condo tower

Construction is well underway on Mod, a 15-storey condominium tower coming to 1150 Cook Street at View Street on the edge of Victoria's Harris Green neighbourhood. Mod will be comprised of nearly 130 residences.  Colin McTaggart

Victoria developer launches unique first-time buyer program at downtown's Mod condo tower
Mike Kozakowski,
Developers behind a downtown Victoria condominium project are offering a unique first-time homebuyer program through lower down-payment requirements and a longer period to contribute those payments, Citified has learned.
Mod, a 15-storey, 129-suite mixed-use tower now rising on View Street at Cook Street in the former Pluto’s Diner location (see website), surpassed 50% sold-out status earlier this summer. But one segment of the market developer Fraser McColl believes could use a leg-up to make homeownership possible is made up of younger, and often first-time, buyers working to overcome the down payment threshold.
“We’ve received a lot of feedback from would-be homebuyers trying to purchase their first home, that one of the struggles they face is saving enough for a down payment, or having to make a 15% down payment contribution over a relatively short period of time,” McColl said.
In response, McColl and partner Dan Robbins have structured a down payment option that lowers the up-front (or pre-mortgage) cost to secure a home at Mod from 15% to 10%, and buyers can make equal instalments of 2.5% over a 12 month period in lieu of the three month standard.
“The ability for a younger buyer or a couple to use their cash flow and accumulate a 10% down payment over an extended period could be the leverage they need, and less money up front can make it easier for them to enter the market without waiting longer to save a 15% down payment,” McColl  said, adding that “all purchasers interested in this option are encouraged to speak to their bank or mortgage broker to develop a plan upon unit occupancy, and if a lower initial down payment can help these young people buy a home, we’re excited to help make that happen.”
McColl also confirms that the Mod team is working with financial institutions that are able to lock-in interest rates for added piece of mind.
By the numbers, Mod’s traditional down payment structure for a $500,000 unit equals $75,000 paid with 10% (i.e., $50,000) due immediately and 5% a short period later. The first-time buyer option drops the downpayment total by $25,000 to $50,000, and spreads four payments of $12,500 over 12 months.
“A number of realtors have told us their clients have been saving money for several years, and while they may have a substantial amount allotted to a down payment, they are unable to commit an amount like $75,000 over a very short period of time. However, their cash flow would actually permit them to cover a lower cost over an extended period like 12 months,” McColl says. “And it sounds like lots of young professionals are in this exact predicament.”
Unlike government-backed down payment programs where the province takes on an equity stake to assist buyers in making their down payment contribution, the option at Mod does not include an equity stake from the developer or any other third party, the purchaser has no restrictions on the re-sale of their unit at any time following occupancy, and there are no rental restrictions for long-term tenancy. The program is fundamentally only a reduction in the up-front cost to the purchaser, and implements a lengthier payment plan for the down payment.
Rendering of Mod.
A rendering of Mod, rising to 15-storeys on Cook Street at View Street. The 'bookend' tower is expected to benefit from preserved views to the south and east from many of its condominium suites.  66 Developments
Referencing the latest sales data from the Victoria Real-Estate Board, the average condominium suite on the re-sale market is valued at $650,500. McColl notes that “of the inventory remaining for purchase at Mod, approximately 40% of homes are priced from the mid-$400,000s, well below this average.”
Mod’s two-bedroom suites feature high-end Kitchenaid appliances like a 36” refrigerator, a 30” wall oven, a 24” dishwasher, a desirable 30” induction cooktop and a Whirlpool over-the-range microwave-fan combo.
One-bedroom homes are fitted out with best-of-make sleek appliances like a 24” Whirlpool refrigerator and 24” induction cook-top, a Jennair 24” wall oven, a Frigidaire over-the-range microwave and a 24” Kitchenaid dishwasher.
24” space-saving Samsung washer and dryer combos, meanwhile, round out the appliance packages of all layouts.
Flooring material is a white oak engineered hardwood chosen for its aesthetic and durability around children and pets. Bathrooms are fitted with tile floors. Quartz countertops add a touch of flair to kitchens and baths with cabinetry available in two finishes, one a riviera oak presenting as a light palette, the other a rich and deep-toned walnut.
Less common among new-builds are true floor-to-ceiling windows, a sought after design element incorporated by Mod’s architectural firm, NSDA, that has a lengthy repertoire of landmark residential towers. Large glass walls provide ample natural light to every home, and frame expansive million-dollar views of the south Island.
Amenities will be available within a fourth floor entertainment and recreation space, helping keep maintenance costs low and strata fees in check. There will also be a dog wash station for pet owners, plus electric vehicle charging-ready parking stalls.
Robbins says Mod’s location at the southeast corner of Victoria’s downtown has uniquely situated the building where it is likely to stand out among its current nearby neighbours and future developments. At 15-storeys high, condominiums from at least the sixth or seventh floor up should maintain their vistas towards the south and east under the City of Victoria’s projected densification patterns.
At the eastern gateway to downtown Victoria and the Fairfield neighbourhood (home to the picturesque Dallas Road waterfront), Mod residents will have access to ample public transit connections for destinations throughout the Capital, cycling infrastructure via Victoria’s protected bicycle network, and the walkable downtown core at arm’s reach.
The ground level will be comprised of retail spaces, one of which is envisioned as a coffee shop or cafe overlooking the intersection of View and Cook streets. Robbins and McColl have fielded significant interest in the ground-oriented storefronts, and are working with operators to bring desirable retail amenities to Mod’s residents and the community at-large.
With construction now well underway, residential occupancy is targeted for mid-to-late 2023.
Mod’s representatives schedule over-the-phone, via email or in-person meetings with prospective purchasers to discuss development details and walk individuals through unit specifics. To learn more about homeownership opportunities at Mod, and to view the sales website, click here. C
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