Condo Market: Valuable neighbourhoods offer Valuable new Choices
‘Housing prices are often the truest testament to where values are best’
The city continues to explode with new opportunities popping up everywhere. We are into year 16 of the 7-year cycle, and it seems as though it will never stop. New mortgage rules are offering us all a good opportunity to pause and make sure we can finish what we started, i.e. close the 30,000 plus new homes that we continue to buy annually.
Condos still remain the lion’s share of the market, building up remains an option whereas the freehold opportunities remain scarce and pricy in many cases. It’s amazing how little $I million buys these days, and just how far away it is from the centre of town. But as a great city of neighbourhoods, places far away are no longer alternative choices for many; they continue to be places of choice. Access to transit and highways remains key, and has helped ensure that builders can get their prices so that they can make a living building in what used to be the ‘outskirts’.
But a few in town opportunities grabbed my attention in recent weeks. Wycliffe Homes, a huge contributor to the makeup of our city for over 65 years, has recently launched two projects in areas where we thought there was no room to grow. Steps from the Promenade Mall, they are just introducing a stunning collection of 82 modern yet classic townhomes in the 2,500 to 3,000 square foot range, two floors of sleeping space, rooftop terraces, huge decks and backyards, two-car indoor parking and a whole range of options allowing you to choose, at no additional cost, anywhere from two to six bedrooms with all the fixings, i.e. the best in finishes and brand name accompaniments. The same week, they introduced an 84-suite collection of urban townhomes situated within five small buildings steps from the Lawrence West subway station, offering entry into a housing market for a fraction of what it would cost to buy new freehold product. Non highrise opportunities are relatively scare in (416), a testament to so many years of developing new housing wherever we could in the core of our city.
Look for more established areas with valuable housing to offer infill options and mixed use opportunities; places like the Kingsway and greater Mississauga, where we thought there was little left to develop. New opportunities arise on the waterfront to the east as much of what existed downtown in the core has been consumed in recent years. Look for new large scale projects in Durham, a region I’m very familiar with, having sold thousands of new homes there. Now, with the maturity of those locales, people who have grown to love the area are downsizing and moving into new condos and other housing forms that didn’t exist there not so long ago.
Significant new communites , many condominium in nature, will start to appear in Milton to the west, again a reflection of the maturity of that region and the huge volume of new homes built there over the years. As Miton fills up, look for the next divide in Guelph, an area that will offer small town charm, yet relatively close proximity to the GTA and favourable pricing. Perhaps the Durham of the west, an area that will fill in nicely in the immediate future and provide an alternative commute to those who work in our great city. Expect the same to the southwest, all the way to the Niagara region, with significant new opportunities all along the way. Expansion will continue as it must, but don’t overlook some of the rare opportunities to stay in town where you always were or always wanted to be.
Some great new choices are now out there for the taking. Slide open the sun roof and take a drive in your neighbourhoods of choice. There are some great opportunities out there!
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. condostorecanada.com firstname.lastname@example.org