Condo Market: Wood Is Good
Spring is in full bloom.
The temperatures are surpassing the teens, and the ground is thawed nicely. Having said that, the For Sale signs that usually find their way onto everyone’s front lawns don’t seem to be showing up as in the past.
The market is great; everything is selling, but there’s not a lot of ‘everything’ out there. Both the new and resale market is aching for new product. The condo world remains brisk, with record breaking sales, hundreds of suites at a time. I’ve noticed recent launches in downtown, North York, Vaughan, Scarborough and lots more around our great city. The apartment style condos remain a great option in this market, with average new homes in sometimes less than average locations fetching over a million, effectively twice as much as the new condos that are gracing our market.
Affordability remains key. And supply is low. With the ongoing growth of our city, the shortage of available product is very much a ‘now’ phenomenon. And, despite all the great condo choices out there, many of the new launches will bring product to the market a few years down the road anyways.
Great for the future but not for those who need their new digs now. There are 100,000 new Torontonians yearly, yet new homes and condos are built for one out of every three or so. It just doesn’t add up. So, despite the harsh realities of supply and demand, there is a trend towards lowrise housing. Single family homes are expensive to build and service. And there is a growing need for density to accommodate would-be buyers.
Shared walls, lawns and parking facilities can lead to more affordable housing as construction costs are lower. Energy consumption and everything green often improves in these scenarios, helping our green initiatives and mandates. So, the world of semi detached homes and townhomes expand to the next level. Back to back towhhomes are popular and appearing everywhere. Back yards move to the front, helping people orient to their neighbours if they wish, yet preserving the ability to build larger inside their four walls.
Stacked townhomes are popping up everywhere. Parking is usually underground, and outdoor space is often in the form of a balcony or deck. Some really great outdoor spaces are appearing on the rooftops of some of these great new offerings, allowing people to enjoy their ‘view from the top’; often a nice 30 or 40 feet above grade.
Multiple higher density projects offer larger spaces than many of the typical highrises we find in our market. And as they’re often build with wood, they rise faster and become new homes much sooner. Common areas tend to be simplistic, keeping maintenance fees low while maintaining beautiful surrounds for the residents. And, with all of today’s enhancements in construction, soundproofing in particular, combined with the energy efficiencies these boast, buyers often find ‘more for less’, something that is very rare in our current market environment. This is why, in many ways, it’s quite clear that ‘wood is good’ and, more importantly, here to stay…Happy home hunting!
MARK COHEN is a founding partner of The Condo Store Marketing Systems, a firm specializing in the design, marketing and sales of condo and new home communities in and outside of the GTA.