REAL ESTATE ROUNDTABLE
Location, location, location is the short answer. These markets have held up relatively well to market influences, in large part due to their close proximity to the city’s core. If you look back, these are the areas that first experienced tight market conditions, low inventory levels and bidding wars. Areas like Oakwood Vaughan also offer up some of the most affordable single-detached homes in the central core, in and around $1 million.
Areas like York Mills, Sunnybrook, Bridle Path have seen sales drop approximately 32 per cent year-over-year (239 versus 349), but it’s important to note that the average price in this community has climbed 28 per cent year-to-date and currently sits at $3,104,428 — that’s the highest average price in the GTA’s 60 plus neighbourhoods.
This area has also been a favourite with foreign buyers and that’s had an impact on the market as well.
First, this is a level of detail that I must refer to my real estate colleagues. From a city planning perspective, more broadly, we know that neighbourhoods near transit and walkable main streets are more resilient in terms of how they hold their value in general. Areas that appeal to end users, as opposed to investors, will on the whole prove to be more stable neighbourhoods.
It would be problematic to draw long-term conclusions from what I view as short-term anomalies. Rather, how Toronto grows — such as whether we make the transit investments required to support a rapidly densifying city — will determine which neighbourhoods thrive.
Great neighbourhoods with a shortage of property will continue to boom. Other less desirable neighbourhoods that have a larger potential supply of property may not see the same increases. For instance, both neighbourhoods of Forest Hill and Casa Loma are very small in terms of the number of homes they contain. They are also very desirable places to live due to their proximity to the city and the excellent nature of the homes.
I think there are people coming from other areas of the city who want to be closer to the downtown core, in a walkable neighbourhood close to shops and restaurants, while still
Condos, particularly those in desirable locations with walkable access to transit and amenities, remain a desirable housing choice. In comparison to low-rise housing options, they provide lower cost access to some of Toronto’s most desirable neighbourhoods. Many families are now making the conscious choice to live in condos, eschewing the burden of a long commute required to find a comparably priced low-rise alternative. While this does not mean condos are immune to a price correction, I do believe that this form of housing is here to stay as Toronto continues to transition into a denser city.
I also hope that the great work my team has been advancing related to designing neighbourhoods and condos as a first choice for families is encouraging more interest. This summer has seen the launch of some spectacular new parks — Grange, Berczy and Trillium. Investing in public space is making the proposition of condo living even more desirable, as a new generation trades backyards for a more urban approach to everyday life.
Whereas in the past condos were viewed primarily a s starter homes, as the character of our city shifts, the role condos play in the housing market is shifting too.
For many first-time buyers in the Greater Toronto Area, condominiums represent the first step in home ownership. The urban lifestyle is especially popular with younger purchasers, many of whom are attracted to affordable units within the downtown core that are close to work and play. Demand, however, is not limited to first-time buyers. Empty nesters and retirees are drawn to units in the centre core that are within walking distance of shops and restaurants. Families are drawn to condominium townhomes and apartments in more suburban settings. Condominiums allow new Canadians to realize home ownership at an affordable price point. Investors also factor into the mix, given that vacancy rates in the city hover at approximately 1.3 per cent (according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation). With demand coming from so many different segments of the market, it’s not