Look for the condo market’s hidden gems this spring

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Look for the condo market’s hidden gems this spring

We can almost see the end of winter, and with spring tantalizingly around the corner, perhaps this is the year to buy your new home.

The market is changing daily; our city continues to grow and the shortage of new homes and new condos continues; demand still far outweighs supply. New detached housing took it on the chin a little, although there is little available, and little on the horizon. Average pricing across the GTA still exceeded $1 million.

With my three kids still to buy their first new home, I guess retirement isn’t on the horizon for me and many others as soon as I expected. They’ll need help getting into the market. Rents are forecasted to increase about 11 per cent citywide, so owning will still look like a better option if you can get in. I predict a return to a strong detached new home market in the not so distant future. Builders are feeling the pain of the buyers’ inability to get in; new mortgage rules are good in a general sense, but not making it any easier for would-be buyers. Still, we need more housing and it will bounce back and get absorbed faster from the buying public.

The condo market remains robust, although pricing has crept up significantly in recent years. Pricing is still well below the average freehold home that’s out there for the taking. Look for continued interest on all of the condo apartment projects that get launched or reintroduced to the market. While the builders have to protect themselves for the future by building in anticipated increases in costs of all kind, the market remains competitive and perhaps more of a buyers market than we’ve seen in some time. Lots of great choices are expected; make sure you do your homework and see what’s out there before you buy.

Winlock townhomes
Winlock townhomes

Look for some hidden gems out there as well. The urban townhome, or stacked townhome continues to grow in popularity. For those who want more space than a typical highrise condo, yet less than, a typical detached house, these fall nicely in the middle. There are lower maintenance fees and a larger space spread out over two or three floors, separating the living areas from the sleeping areas, all the bells and whistles you’ll find in our highly competitve marketplace and, perhaps most importantly to many, certainty as to timing. Builders can start them earlier as the presale requirements are smaller; the buildings or clusters of buildings have far fewer units than a typical highrise. And the construction process is simpler and much shorter. This provides more certainty as to when they will start and, more importantly, when they will be completed.

Some of these new townhome opportunities are presenting themselves in prime locations, places you never thought had any room for more development. One prime example will rise soon in the prestigious Bayview and Finch neighbourhood. Crown Communities, a company with deep roots, is introducing Winlock Towns, a collection of 30 new homes, 20 urban towns and 10 more traditional. An opportunity to live in a neighbourhood that commands very high resale values, with older product in the one, $2 million to $3 million range. Winlock offers a good selection of two- and three-bedroom plus urban and traditional townhomes starting at less than $800,000, ranging to slightly more than $1.2 million. The builder has thrown in all those bells and whistles, with over height ceilings, the best in finishes, appliances, free parking and, unlike many of the townhomes on the market old and new, concrete construction. All this, right in the heart of an established neighbourhood, minutes from Bayview Village, Fairview Mall, North York Centre and public transit, GO, the 400 highways and everything you need. Look for this and other hidden gems this Spring. It will be an exciting one for sure.

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.


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