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Fall into value with a new condo

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Fall into value with a new condo

When it comes to new condominiums, the word “value” refers to how much you get for your money, both now and in the future. Of course, every buyer, regardless of circumstances and means, wants to get the most possible in the purchase of a new condominium. So, what are the elements that make up value?

I would say that location is first. Given the demand for condos in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area, pretty much any location is perfect for someone. Many purchasers choose buildings in up-and-coming areas in order to get in before prices go up as new amenities and infrastructure are added. Others who have the wherewithal, choose to live in already established, prestigious neighbourhoods they know will always be desirable. The hot button nowadays is proximity to transit, and any condominium near or on a transit line is bound to sell quickly to buyers who realize the value in not having to own and maintain a vehicle to get around. Add to that easily reachable local shopping, parks, services, restaurants, schools and the like, and location takes on an even deeper significance.

Next, consider aesthetics. Architecture can have a huge effect on desirability – and fortunately, developers offer a range of styles to satisfy every taste from sleek and modern to contemporary and traditional. From the outside, a condo should feel like “home” to purchasers, so the exterior does make a difference. Today’s designs also include brilliant landscape plans that enhance the beauty and sustainability of the buildings.

Amenities are another consideration in the decision-making process for condo-shoppers. There is nothing more convenient than having wonderful common areas right in the building. These may range from retail venues on the ground floor to pools, party rooms, fitness facilities, lounges, libraries, theatres, rooftop barbecue and dining areas, pet grooming spots, and even golf simulators. Certainly, one of the best parts of living in a condo is having a simple elevator commute to access these attractive areas. Some condos go so far as to employ activity coordinators to help residents make the most of their “homes.”

And speaking of “home,” condo buyers (unless they choose completed inventory suites) have the privilege of selecting the features and finishes that will make them comfortable and appeal to their senses. Today’s choices are phenomenal, even when buyers stick to the standards. The quality and selection alone speak to value, both to end-users and investors. Even those who live in their suites benefit in the future when selling to move on. Lovely finishes that stand the test of time will always be selling features.

One more thing is to consider the developer’s reputation. There is a certain cachet inherent in buying in a building created by a company that has earned a reputation for providing value and excellent customer service. It is easy to research the history of developers, now that we have the Internet at our fingertips. Do some research and find out about the “pros” that add up to value. In the long run, you’ll make a value-packed new condo decision!

Barbara Lawlor is president and CEO of Baker Real Estate Inc., winner of the pinnacle 2017 Riley Brethour Award from BILD, and an indemand columnist and speaker. A member of the Baker team since 1993, she oversees the marketing and sales of condominium developments in the GTA and overseas. Keep current with The Baker Blog at blog.bakerrealestate.com

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Condo investor checklist : Location, amenities and low maintenance

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Condo investor checklist : Location, amenities and low maintenance

Successful condo investors know that there are a number of key considerations to keep in mind when selecting a property that will reap them a solid return on their investment.

Here is a rundown of what investors should be focusing on in their search for a profitable rental property.

Photo courtesy Activa

Affordability

In the GTA’s increasingly expensive housing market, affordability tops the list of considerations for investors. A condo unit should be purchased at a price you can afford to carry, and you’ll need to consider condo fees and property taxes alongside sale price.

Also keep in mind the costs of routine upkeep for the property, particularly as you begin renting it out, and the potential for damage rises (hopefully it’s minor.) Speaking of damage, you will need to cover the cost of insurance for the condo unit; this is required by condo corporations.

Make sure you’re doing a cost benefit analysis of all of this to be certain that the rental income you get not only covers your carrying costs but also provides a bit of profit on top. The goal is to be cash flow positive, but it might take a year or two to get there.

Low-maintenance

Be mindful of a property that will require maintenance outside the routine needs, such as lawn mowing or snow shovelling. Buildings with swimming pools, for example, will have higher maintenance and common element fees down the line, which will cut into the rental income potential for the investor.

Room to grow

Space is a key consideration, especially with more families looking to live in condo properties versus actual houses, which are getting out of most people’s price range — buyers and renters alike. Two-bedroom, two-bathroom rental units with parking and storage will see greater demand from tenants who are willing to pay higher rental rates in order to have more room. If buying close to university or college, larger units can accommodate more residents, which helps students share the monthly rent.

Location

The essential element in the assessment of any condo property’s potential. The condo will have much greater value as a rental unit if it is close to transit, universities and colleges, and retail offerings. It should be noted that many new condo developments — such as the Regent Park revitalization in Toronto — are helping to reshape communities for the better. And the value of condo units in these areas is seeing significant growth as a result.

Jobs

Nearby employment opportunities should be a key consideration when assessing whether a condo unit will carry greater value as a rental property, such as locations that are close to work nodes. Basically anything in downtown Toronto, where much of the younger talent is flocking nowadays, will generate a stronger rental income.

Amenities

Amenities are definite value-add when it comes to rental properties. Gyms, party rooms with catering kitchens, front desk/ concierge service, bike parking and storage — all of these will translate into higher rental rates. The same is true for community amenities. A building will see far more renter interest if it’s close to parks, trails and libraries, with a variety of nearby shopping, dining and entertainment options. And that increased demand will mean more rental dollars.

DEBBIE COSIC, CEO and founder of In2ition Realty, has worked in all facets of the real estate industry for more than 25 years.

In2ition.ca

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Start the new year with a new condo!

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Start the new year with a new condo!

Affinity and Odyssey Condos
Affinity and Odyssey Condos, Rosehaven Homes.

Why start the new year with a new condo?

  1. Condominiums across Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area have proven to be excellent additions to people’s lifestyle and financial portfolios. According to Urbanation, new condo prices hit an all-time high in the third quarter of 2018, while sales volume hit the third-highest Q3 total in the past 10 years. Think of the return on investment condominium owners who bought years ago have enjoyed. Get into the condo market now, while prices are still on the rise.
  2. You will find superb condominiums in remarkable locations close to amenities, public transit and parks. Some offer direct access to transit, which eliminates the need to own a vehicle. First-time buyers, in particular, find this tremendously helpful in affording an urban condo. Buyers of all ages appreciate the convenience of owning within walking and biking distance to run errands, and for some people, to their workplace.
  3. Today’s condominium architecture is stunning, whether the building is a sleek, modern point tower, an intimate boutique midrise, or anything in between. Traditional, transitional, contemporary… when you shop for a condo, you will find a variety of exteriors available to please a variety of sensibilities. Your condo should feel like “home” from first glance.
  4. Lifestyle in a condo is one of luxury, whether you move into a studio or compact one-bedroom suite or a sprawling penthouse. Beautiful building amenities span the gamut from party rooms to boardrooms, fitness centres to yoga studios, ground-level courtyards to rooftop oases with pools, barbecues, dining areas and/or lounges.
  5. The lifestyle is also one of ease as well, as residents’ maintenance fees cover the exterior upkeep such as landscaping and snow removal, as well as the cleaning and repair of all common areas in the building. Imagine the time that frees up to spend more time with family, traveling or enjoying hobbies.
  6. Suite interiors are masterpieces of design, with functional layouts that are flexible as well. With open-concept main living spaces, residents can delineate “rooms” to their preference using furniture groupings and area rugs. Gorgeous linear kitchens become part of the main living area and free up space. Dens can double as guest rooms, nurseries, home offices and anything else your imagination can conjure up.
  7. Today’s features and finishes rival those of condominiums around the world. In fact, our condominium purchasers here have much more choice than they do in the U.S. Even buyers who choose to appoint their suites with standards appreciate their beauty and quality.
  8. In Toronto and the GTA, we are fortunate to have some of the finest builders and developers in Ontario offering condominium communities. They enlist award-winning design firms to help bring their vision to reality.
  9. New condominiums in Ontario are still protected by Tarion Warranty Corp. Last year, the Minister of Government and Consumer Services announced proposed changes to enhance consumer protection, and Tarion is committed to supporting the province in this transition.

Those are just some of the reasons to start 2019 with a brand new condominium. Happy New Year!

BARBARA LAWLOR is president and CEO of Baker Real Estate Incorporated, winner of the pinnacle 2017 Riley Brethour Award from BILD, and an in-demand columnist and speaker. A member of the Baker team since 1993, she oversees the marketing and sales of condominium developments in the GTA and overseas. Keep current with The Baker Blog at blog.bakerrealestate.com

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Industry Report: New Residential Development Brings New Amenities to GTA Communities

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Industry Report: New Residential Development Brings New Amenities to GTA Communities

Have you noticed that when a community gets a new crop of houses, townhouses and condos, it also acquires a wider selection of shops and restaurants, new public spaces, maybe even a park or a community centre?

These are just some of the benefits that our communities receive when we build new housing for GTA residents.

With more people moving into an area, a larger number and variety of businesses — coffee shops, pizzerias, dentist offices, dry cleaners and fitness studios — can thrive. A great example is the Yonge St. and Eglinton Ave. neighbourhood. Along with condos, the area has lately added a renovated shopping centre, a major grocery store, a wider selection of unique restaurants and fun venues like board game cafes. Neighbourhood amenities like these don’t just make life more convenient and enjoyable, they also provide expanded employment opportunities in the area.

The rose garden at the Four Seasons Hotel in Yorkville.

Residential development also brings new parks to communities in the GTA and helps expand and maintain existing ones. The City of Toronto, for instance, asks builders and developers to set aside a certain amount of land on development sites for parkland or pay a fee to be used to purchase land for new parks or improve existing ones. The 3.1- hectare Canoe Landing Park in the CityPlace neighbourhood in Toronto, with its sports fields, walking paths and art by Douglas Coupland, is an example of a new park created through a parkland dedication agreement.

Other open spaces become available to the public when developers provide landscaped courtyards, walkways and plazas as community benefits. These privately owned, publicly-accessible places may be smaller than traditional parks, but they still provide much-needed retreats from the bustle of urban life.

For example, residents and visitors alike enjoy the rose garden next to the Four Seasons Hotel in Yorkville, and office workers soak up the sun on their lunch hour in the many landscaped parkettes that dot the Financial District.

Another benefit that residential development brings to communities is improvements to infrastructure such as roads, transit, sewers, libraries and community centres. Whether you are seeing work crews resurfacing roads in your neighbourhood or you are enjoying the new community centre in Markham, you can be sure that a significant portion of the funds for this infrastructure work came from development charges levied by municipal governments.

There is no doubt, however, that the central benefit of our industry’s work is bringing to market a supply of new houses, townhouses and condominium suites so that people who want to live in the GTA can find housing options at prices they can afford. As the municipal elections approach this fall, we will be encouraging GTA residents to ask their local candidates to commit to taking action on increasing housing supply. That way, we can all reap the many benefits of housing development.

DAVE WILKES is President and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD). Bildgta.ca

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THE BRANDER: Make your amenities right for your buyers

THE BRANDER: Make your amenities right for your buyers

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THE BRANDER: Make your amenities right for your buyers

Condo amenities that meet the needs of the market’s evolving demographics are a great way to rise above the competition while avoiding excessive cost.

by Adam Savoni
Community

With so many young families finding themselves priced out of the GTA’s lowrise market, there is a growing appetite for family-friendly condos that must not go unnoticed.

While three-bedroom condominiums pose similar affordability challenges to single-dwelling units, more modestly-sized units with family-oriented amenities can be a big sell for families looking to explore the condo lifestyle.

Condo amenities that meet the needs of the market’s evolving demographics are a great way to rise above the competition while avoiding excessive cost. Golf simulators and lap pools are still popular among some, but if the location and target audience are appropriate, you are bound to appeal to more buyers by offering family-oriented amenities.

With limited suite space, parents will appreciate common areas where their children can burn off some energy and play with other kids. Some of the more common amenities that cater to young families include kids’ rooms, family rooms, rooftop splash zones and even dog-walking spaces.

Make sure that the spaces are inclusive for all members of the family. Something as simple and inexpensive as a desk and WiFi connection will allow parents to catch up on work, or take a moment to themselves while the kids are at play. These amenities should act as refined spaces for both children and adults to create a healthy feeling of community that’s so important for any new development.

It is critical that the marketing agency is brought into the conversation as early as possible to ensure that the amenities are aligned with the overall brand. It goes without saying that the brand should not only create a sense of excitement for the audience, but influence how the product comes together. Your agency can offer new and innovative ideas for the amenity spaces while working with the interior design team to make sure they are on brand and on point.

It’s worth noting that the inclusion of modern, desirable amenities should not be limited to condominium projects. New purpose-built rental developments with well-planned and well-designed amenity spaces will go a long way towards changing public perception around rental projects and renting in general.

Community has launched multiple purpose-built rental brands that incorporate progressive amenities, all of which have proved to be very successful. One such example is The Livmore in downtown Toronto. The project was competing against numerous condo developments in the surrounding area, all of which had investor-owned units for rent. To stand out, our team took the amenities within the neighbourhood and complemented them with unique, modern spaces in the building itself. This immediately placed The Livmore on the same level as its condo counterparts but without the large down payment and 25-year commitment, as illustrated in the tagline “lease is more.”

Using amenities to enhance your brand are just one of many ways to help your project, whether condo or purpose-built rental, appeal to a broader audience. Your agency should be putting in the research hours to stay on top of market conditions, trends and changes. Keep that in mind when selecting a marketing partner for your next project and make sure you ask the right questions.

Adam Savoni is vice president, real estate marketing at Community.

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Home Realty: It’s All In The Planning

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Home Realty: It’s All In The Planning

Six benefits of buying in a master-planned development

There are many advantages to purchasing a home that’s part of a master-planned community. Here is a rundown on the top six reasons why you may want to consider buying your next abode in one of these communities.

WELL THOUGHT OUT

Master-planned developments typically incorporate amenities and retail stores, all of which make life within them more enjoyable. The developer also tends to have a longer-term commitment to these communities, so is therefore more likely to produce better-quality housing, which translates into less maintenance over the lifetime of these homes, and higher resale values if and when the time comes to sell.

GOOD LOCATIONS

Master-planned communities tend to be built in better areas, neighbourhoods that are located within close reach of quality schools, transportation and transit networks, shops and services and recreational options. And while these communities are situated nearby to everything, in the case of lowrise neighbourhoods, they’re also designed so that traffic within them is controlled, providing peace of mind for residents who don’t need to worry about living on a busy or noisy street.

VARIETY

Builders of master-planned communities ensure that these neighbourhoods have a cohesive and consistent design, while also making certain there is enough design variety that they don’t end up looking like cookie-cutter developments. Architects create a selection of product types, from detached homes to townhouses to multi-family buildings, and these homes employ a blend of building materials so the product is appealing to the eye but also works well within the development’s surroundings and context.

AMENITIES GALORE

Master-planned developments usually have a wide selection of amenities. In the case of midrise or highrise projects, this includes party rooms, pools, gyms, entertainment and media rooms. Many condo developments are also incorporating more outdoor amenities such as green spaces, rooftop terraces and communal gardens.

SENSE OF COMMUNITY

All those aforementioned amenities mean that a master-planned development tends to feel more like a real community, with the residents believing they are a part of something bigger than themselves. In the case of lowrise neighbourhoods, children playing in the parks or on the playgrounds will generally be attending the same schools, and their parents are more likely running into one another at the community centre or while shopping. This can lead to neighbourhood barbecues and get-togethers at each other’s homes. In a condo building, residents will meet in the gym or entertainment rooms and make connections there.

LASTING VALUE

Homes within master-planned developments typically have greater value over the long term as a result of their ample amenities and quality locations, plus the fact that the units are built with quality and cohesive design in mind.

Debbie Cosic, CEO and founder of In2ition Realty, has worked in all facets of the real estate industry for over 25 years. She has sold and overseen the sale of over $15 billion worth of real estate and, with Debbie at the helm, In2ition has become one of the fastest-growing and most innovative new home and condo sales companies. In2ition has received numerous awards from the Building Industry and Land Development Association and the National Association of Home Builders.

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Home Realty: Families Can live Happily In Condos

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Home Realty: Families Can live Happily In Condos

The City of Toronto has launched a study to examine how new multi-unit housing in high-density communities can better accommodate the needs of households with kids.

This is an important matter to be focusing on these days as affordability concerns have meant more families are opting to purchase condos versus detached homes.

We can expect that number to keep rising as families continue to get priced out of the ground-oriented housing market and turn to condos as the only viable alternative. Cities like Hong Kong and New York experienced this shift decades ago and denizens of those places have become hard-wired for apartment living.

With more families moving into high-density buildings in Toronto every year, it’s key that the city look at ways to better accommodate them. The recently launched study — dubbed “Growing Up: Planning for Children in New Vertical Communities” — is intended to offer direction on how new developments can better function and facilitate life for growing families.

The study includes a public consultation component and it will explore issues such as unit size and layout, building amenities, the design of the public realm and neighbourhood amenities.

When it comes to suite size, developers have found creative and flexible ways to address demands for family-friendly housing. Many new buildings are designed so that suites can be combined with easily removable panels separating a one-bedroom unit from a two-bedroom unit, for example. Within the suites themselves, removable partition walls can create more bedrooms and semi-private spaces to house growing families. Solutions like these make it easier for developers to cater to several prospective buyer groups while not committing to building one type of unit exclusively.

While condos might have once been designed with empty nesters, young couples and single first-time buyers in mind, with more families moving into multi-family housing, building amenities are starting to reflect the needs of this other demographic. Many new condos have kids’ rooms and crafts rooms, full gymnasiums and ample outdoor areas for families to enjoy, including community gardening plots.

The design of the public realm and neighbourhood amenities are equally as essential to creating quality places to raise families living in vertical communities. Condo dwellers don’t have a backyard to call their own, so the surrounding area is their playground. A public realm that’s focused on families ideally will have adequate greenspace, or perhaps more urban-style recreation spots like the innovative Underpass Park, part of the River City development at the foot of the Don River.

And when it comes to neighbourhood amenities, the more the better. Community centres, arts and culture, and public art installations helps to enhance the experience for families choosing to live the multi-family life.

Debbie Cosic, CEO and founder of In2ition Realty, has worked in all facets of the real estate industry for over 25 years. She has sold and overseen the sale of over $15 billion worth of real estate and, with Debbie at the helm, In2ition has become one of the fastest-growing and most innovative new home and condo sales companies. In2ition has received numerous awards from the Building Industry and Land Development Association and the National Association of Home Builders.

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