Tag Archives: Mark Cohen

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Is this the right time to buy?

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Is this the right time to buy?

Summer has come and gone, and it was a nice one in the GTA as far as climate is concerned. As the Labour Day weekend kicked in, we felt the change in the temperature, and started putting away the short sleeves.

It’s a good time to reflect and be thankful for travel, reconnecting with friends and maximizing whatever time you could with family and those who matter most. It’s also a natural time of year to reflect on work, progress and betterment. To take the seasonal run before the shutdown again around the holiday season.

Home and condo builders, too, find themselves in a busy mode, with dozens of new projects opening this fall. A new buying and selling season is here. The cost of land, both in terms of processing and the mere outright cost of it, hasn’t gone down. There has been some slowing in the constantly rising price of new homes, in particular, and it was necessary. New homes aren’t inexpensive, with the GTA average now exceeding $1 million. Condo prices, meanwhile, have increased, as all the factors that influence their costs also continue to rise. Bottom line? New home pricing is not likely to improve any time soon.

In fact, despite our conservative outlook, there’s no reason to think pricing won’t continue to rise. It simply costs more to build and buy new homes. Supply seems far below adequate, and that hasn’t changed recently. Borrowing costs are low, rents are high, vacancies nonexistent, and the city is growing annually. Competition is fierce. The products we offer are extraordinary, a good testament to the efforts of so many in this world-class mecca of new home and condo development that we live in.

So, is this the right time to buy? You bet it is. It’s not going to get any better any time soon. Do your homework and do your shopping. Be ready to buy. Go for it!

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 mark@condostorecanada.com

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TCS Marketing Systems

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TCS Marketing Systems

With decades of experience, the people behind this company provide keen insights

In the fast-changing Toronto area real estate market, the team at TCS Marketing Systems always has their fingers on the pulse. The people behind this innovative sales and marketing consulting agency excel at anticipating coming trends, due to their three decades of experience, keen insight and extensive market data.

TCS Marketing Systems has been involved in numerous projects across the GTA and Ontario, including mid- and high-rise condos, townhomes, single-detached homes and master-planned communities. The company has a single guiding principle – integrity – and has set itself apart by being the first consultants in and last out on every project.

Mark Cohen (centre back row) and his TCS Marketing Systems management team.

Wealth of experience

Managing partner of TCSMS is Mark Cohen, a highly respected and well known expert in the industry. His wealth of experience includes key roles with powerhouse developers, including Bramalea Ltd., Menkes Developments, Concord Adex and Tribute Communities. Throughout his career, Cohen has pioneered many of the sales and marketing strategies that are now common in today’s marketplace and is always on the lookout for the next breakthrough.

“When Mark is in the room with the architects, he thinks about what people do after they come home and throw their keys on the table,” says Onkar Dhillon, vice-president of operations and one of The Condo Store’s founding members. “He thinks about how they live. We are designing with consumers in mind. For example, Amazon delivery is the way people get parcels, so we’re adding automated parcel delivery rooms. That’s the kind of thoughtfulness required in design.”

Dhillon has been working with Cohen for 20 years, since they met when Cohen was vice-president of sales and marketing for Concord Adex’s Cityplace, the largest residential highrise development in Toronto history.

Better projects, better designs

Condos used to be subordinate to lowrise homes, Dhillon says, but condos are a lifestyle choice and the challenge is to create better projects and design better spaces to serve consumers.

“Our philosophy is there is a condo for every person, and there’s a purchaser for every condo,” says Glen Buttigieg, vice-president of sales. “We make a case for every condo, whether it’s to take in the morning sun, to see the lake, or the advantage of being near the rooftop terrace. We painstakingly comb over every suite, trying to find the advantage and tailor it for each buyer. Our agents are listening to buyers and determining what suite would serve them best.”

For TCSMS’s developer clients, Cohen and company get in early, sitting in on all of a project’s marketing and design meetings and then create a rationale. They continue working with the same care and commitment until the last unit is sold, understanding the importance of making the projects profitable for their clients.

“What I influence is the design, marketing, sales and customer relationships for different projects,” says Cohen. “Instead of working on 12 projects for one person like I used to, I work on 12 for 12 different builders.”

Bungalow on Mercer Street in downtown Toronto.

TCSMS is equally well-versed in selling and marketing high-, mid-, and lowrise developments. Buyers’ expectations are changing. Due to constraints on land available for building and affordability, people are realizing they don’t have to aspire to 4,500-sq.-ft. houses in rural settings and can live well in smaller homes.

“The market doesn’t want space for space’s sake,” adds Serena Quaglia, vice-president of marketing. “People want common space, a study nook… that’s the challenge for the lowrise market. It’s not going anywhere, but the designs are not what they used to be.”

Quaglia brings more than a decade’s experience in the design, marketing and sales of master-planned communities and believes today’s buyers are more sophisticated and knowledgeable when it comes to evaluating properties. “The most important role we play when working with developers is our ability to accurately represent the needs and desires of each and every buyer. And that starts with being great listeners.”

Altered approach

For example, Bungalow is an ultraluxury condo project by Kalovida Canada Inc. in the heart of the Entertainment and Financial Districts, with just 13 units, just one per floor. Cohen recognized that buyers spending $2.5 million for a suite – hedge fund managers, athletes, entertainment industry types – would likely not be using them as primary residences, but as places to entertain and relax when they were in town. This type of clientele wants a certain type of wine cellar, concierge and modest, rather than overthe- top luxury.

In another example, construction is starting soon at 293 The Kingsway, a luxury condominium by the Benvenuto Group. The Kingsway is a classic Toronto neighbourhood with lush, green streets and good schools, and 293 reflects the prestigious area, with large units, a park-like setting and stylish contemporary design.

And for Wycliffe Homes’ Promenade luxury townhouse development in Thornhill, TCSMS largely focused marketing around the developer, wellknown for its white-glove treatment, first-class finishes, exceptional locations and the opportunity it gives buyers to customize. Staying true to the prestigious Thornhill neighbourhood, Promenade’s townhomes are classy and tasteful, with top-notch features and finishes.

Whether it’s dealing with super luxury projects or condos geared to first-time buyers or investors, TCS Marketing Systems brings the same level of dedication to each one and works until the last unit is sold.

“Real estate is one service that hasn’t been greatly altered by technology,” says Cohen. “Homes are still sold by people, not machines. The quality of renderings is better, the ways to communicate more extensive, but at the end of the day, whether you are selling something to a client or to a customer or pushing a consultant to do something, most of it involves eye-to-eye contact. People move people to move mountains, and that hasn’t changed.”

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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. condostorecanada.com mark@condostorecanada.com

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The fall condo market in the GTA is in full swing

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The fall condo market in the GTA is in full swing

Although October has been unseasonably warm, it’s just a tease. Most of us have closed our cottages, people on the water were wearing ski jackets and toques this Thanksgiving. The barometer has dropped and its that time of the year. We survived September; kids back at school and everyone seems to be busy back at work in full swing. As always, the great real estate developers in our town are now showcasing the latest and greatest. Some new housing opportunities, detached, attached, stacked and so forth are available. Nice to see with the general prevailing shortage of new housing opportunities that exist in the GTA, that there are some good choices out there.

New housing opportunities in town should be looked at carefully; they are few and far between and it’s not going to get better. Many of the house sellers took their time to reflect this summer, re entering the market place with a view of offering a competitive and fair value to the buyers while trying to make sure they make a living selling. Some great choices exist out there. Speaking of ‘out there’, some of them are really out there. Last month, I moved into a new condo in the centre of town and bought a new home just outside of town. Room for the kids in both but I’m pushing towards being a youngish empty nester. I love this city; but Saturdays and Sundays are for somewhere else.

New condo choices are here; many of the developers also reflected this summer; enjoying the heat, and preparing their launches with new opportunities, new design and an assortment of new buildings in (416), (905) and beyond. Rents are continuing to increase almost ad finitem; (if you can even get your hands on a rental); owning makes more sense than ever if you can find the downpayment. Great new opportunities are here all over town. Look carefully at the neighbourhood; the property values there, the demographics and the trends. Do your homework. Talk to your realtor if you’re working with one. Talk to the on site agents and ask them about the neighbourhood they’re selling in. They should know what’s happening and, perhaps more importantly, what is likely to happen down the road. Get into gear. The fall market is here.

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
mark@condostorecanada.com

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Condo Market: The Evolution of the Condo

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Condo Market: The Evolution of the Condo

Bigger is often better

I guess the old adage that ‘what goes around, comes around’ is right on. It spans into our universe — the condo universe. Right here in the centre of the condo universe. I was fortunate enough to work with the pioneers in the business, starting right out of university about 35 years ago.

Condos represented about 10 per cent of the new housing market; slowly creeping up over the years, to 15 and 20 per cent at best. The suites were big; two-bedrooms almost always. I remember selling them at $120 to $150 a foot in some pretty good neighbourhoods. Those now hit upwards of $1,000 per foot in North York, Thornhill, places like that.

I marketed thousands of new homes concurrently. They were everyone’s first choice — the backyard, 2 and one half kids and a dog, the right school district and all those other things. Really, that was everyone’s first choice. Prices per square foot were lower, sticker prices were higher. That part hasn’t changed much, even today.

As the world evolved, and Toronto became a destination for so many new Torontonians, we went condo crazy. Had no choice. The Greenbelt was frozen, the lake remained and we went east and west, and further north. Condos were it. But it no longer was necessarily an affordable alternative to housing. It became, as it is now, a first choice for many.

The average new condo still is hundreds of thousands of dollars less than its detached counterpart, despite the rising costs of development and construction in recent years. And those have been whopping.

We saw not so long ago the micro suites, the quantity of components, i.e. bedrooms and bathrooms, becoming more important than the sizing of the rooms themselves. Critical dimensions we used to use in creating spaces became downsized considerably. The 600-square-foot two bed/two bath condo came of age. And it continues to exist appropriately in some locales.

But as the world has turned, and as sexy condo locations are being filled and becoming harder to find, some of the great new offerings are being found right in the neighbourhoods that people value and want to stay in, places where they didn’t have opportunities to downsize without compromising their lifestyle in terms of suite design particularly. I personally moved last week from an 800-square-foot two-bedroom condo to a 950-squarefoot condo. Same components, but very different spaces. Night and day in many ways. Both serve and will serve a purpose; different costs of course.

Look for these types of things in many of the great new projects that will be entering the market this time of the year. One particularly good example of this is coming this fall to the Kingsway; I’ve had the privilege to work on the design, architecture and the planning of this great soon to be master planned community — 293 The Kingsway. This is a redevelopment consisting of five new buildings in a rare private enclave setting in an outstanding established valuable neighbourhood. The suites very much reflect the upsizing of things in all categories — one bedrooms, one plus den, two-bedrooms and two pluses.

It’s a reflection of just how far we’ve come as an industry, and just how integral condo living is in our great town. No longer an alternative choice; it has become very much our first choice.

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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mark@condostorecanada.com

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Condo Market: Valuable neighbourhoods offer Valuable new Choices

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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 mark@condostorecanada.com

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Condo Market: Teaming Up with Transit

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Condo Market: Teaming Up with Transit

It’s a sign of the times

There is a famous old saying that endures forever; ‘time is money’. Perhaps because time is one of the things that money can’t buy And there’s simply not enough time in the day for us to keep up in the 24/7 world we work and live in.

Once upon a time, not so long ago, the world seemed to move more deliberately, distinctively more slowly. I remember my first position in the corporate world. Messages on pink pieces of paper on your desk. Regular mail would suffice for most of the business correspondence, a courier or taxi if something was really urgent. Gave us more time to think and correspond more accurately in some ways. No computers or internet; cell phones were only for the privileged and few. Rush hour was actually that; an hour at the beginning and one at the end of the work day.

Fast forward to today, and little remains the same. The expectation in business, for example, is much different; urgency prevails. The moment someone sends an email, it is a given that it has been accepted immediately. Time begins to tick. Everything is time sensitive – even if it isn’t. Texting while driving is a bad answer; highly irresponsible and expensive. And getting to meetings on time; that is always important; among other things, respect for others and their time.

If you drive in this town, you inevitably develop an understanding of timeliness. Rush hour has no boundaries. Construction (yeah) is everywhere. Parking lots have become scarce. Parking is often an adventure, a costly one at that. While better than many cities of our size in this hemisphere, we have our share of pot holes. speed bumps and closures. It never seems to end.

A new generation of city travellers, young and old alike, have become transit only travellers. Subways, buses, GO trains, streetcars; anything beats driving. Not to mention, there are few assets anywhere that depreciate as quickly as a brand new car the minute you drive if off the lot.

It’s no coincidence that public transit has a huge effect on home values in and around the GTA. Expect this to continue where the new subway stations, GO stops and LRT’s appear. This past December, the subway station at York University opened, satisfying the thousands of people who bought new condos and homes that aligned with this important stop. Similarly, thousands of new homes have been sold recently in Vaughan in anticipation of the expansion of the subway to Highway 7 and eventually beyond. GO expansion is active on both sides of Lakeshore to the south, and ongoing in northern locales like Barrie, Stouffville, and Richmond Hill. Watch Grimsby; it’s on its way.

I remember reading an article in the Financial Post. Avison Young’s study showed that condos downtown on the subway were worth 30 per cent more than others 500 metres away; that being the line where the walk to the station is outside of many’s comfort zone. Expect that trend to follow in neighbourhoods everywhere. Another reading I perused some time ago referenced the number of transit stops in different neighbourhoods of Toronto; this came out last year when Toronto’s system was noted as the best in North America by the American Public Transport Association. The best serviced neighbourhoods had upwards of 45 transit stops per square kilometre; areas to the east and west and north were in the mid upper teens. The cost of housing similarly decreases for every minute one travels away from core areas and away from public transit in many cases.

As the city and its outskirts continue to grow, expect this to continue. Access to public transit will help define what makes a location valuable and marketable. Expect that now and going forward. Very much a sign of the times!

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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Condo Market: Condos To Cottages

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Condo Market: Condos To Cottages

We had an unseasonably cool spring this year, something we haven’t seen for some time.

The usual transition from rain to heat was ‘middled’ by some good old fashioned spring — the season of promise as it always has been.

The market, however, hasn’t shown any signs of cooling. Kathleen didn’t scare us. Great new highrise opportunities along the subway lines present and future downtown and many places north, east and west showed their mettle. They were sold in days. As is customary, realtors within the community of choice often get the first opportunity to showcase the product to their constituents, a hint for those who want to get into their location of choice at the early stages. Everything made of wood and steel continued to dominate, offering an alternative to the highrise, often presenting larger spaces and favourable pricing. Usually found in infill pockets in your favourite neighbourhood, many of these are just another form of condominium — smaller amenity packages, correspondingly lower maintenance fees — but located in places where house pricing is unattainable for many.

Condo pricing remains favourable. Smaller spaces but still a huge gap between freehold pricing. The resale market has been crazy; average sold to asking price in recent months was reported over 111 per cent. Wow! We’re seeing the seasonal slowdown in that market although few think prices will actually drop. They typically stop rising, which is good for all.

Legacy Cottages on Lake Rosseau — coming this summer.

With the ‘condominiumization’ continuing to govern our landscape, and high housing prices still looking for more movement and opportunities just outside of the GTA, affordability is always key. Look for opportunities in cottage country. The trend towards owning more than one home, i.e. a condo in the city and a place in our great north, can only continue. The number of people owning more than one home will continue to rise perpetually.

A great opportunity should present itself in Muskoka this summer, offering homes on multi million dollar Lake Rosseau for a fraction of that price, tarting in the sub 700K range — not unlike the stacked and townhouse product that presents itself in the city for those who need a home but not a big house. Look for other cottage opportunities in other parts of the province; technology allows us to work remotely and the city remains a tough place to navigate.

The barometer is rising but the opportunities aren’t showing any signs of rest. Enjoy the summer. But if you’re in the market for a home, recreational or otherwise, keep your eyes open. We’re in full swing!

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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mark@condostorecanada.com

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Condo Market: Wood Is Good

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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.
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mark@condostorecanada.com

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Condo Market – Some Myths About Buying A New Condo: Fact or Fiction

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Condo Market – Some Myths About Buying A New Condo: Fact or Fiction

There are still a lot of misconceptions about buying a new condominium — even here in one of the ‘condo capitals’ of the world. A couple come to mind…

MYTH #1: There are too many condominiums being built; we will have more than we need. That is FICTION. The FACT remains that one thing the 100 plus buildings we have under construction at any given time have in common is at least 75 per cent of the suites were pre-sold in order for them to get under construction in the first place. Many were sold out prior to starting, and in many cases, most of what was available prior to completion was sold during the construction phase.

MYTH #2: The prices of condominiums are relatively high. That also is FICTION. The difference between the price of a new condominium and a new home is at an all time high and the spread continues to grow. We may be in a very long cycle of growth, but there is no good reason to think that affordability won’t continue to drive the housing market; hence this phenomenon won’t likely stop any time soon.

MYTH #3: Buying New Means Long Wait Time until Completion: While it’s possible that this happens, this isn’t the norm and a reputable builder will do their very best to get you in your home as closely as possible to the original timing. Ensuring that you purchase from a builder with a solid track record will mean that you don’t wait too long. You can check out a builder’s history on TARION’s online builder directory.

MYTH #4: Deposit payment are due right away. More FICTION. Whereas the builder needs bonafide deposits to obtain construction financing, they will often help you take the time you need to gather yours. Quality and trusted builders won’t require the full deposit at once and they will often work with you to spread them over a reasonable amount of time, provided that they meet the lender’s financial criteria.

MYTH #5: involves a sense of fear of the safety of the deposit once handed over. Your deposit is fully protected up to and including the final closing; Tarion Warranty Corporation’s enrolment fee protects the first $20,000, the balance is secure as it is held in the Vendor’s solicitor’s trust account. So you’re safe in the unlikely event that the condo isn’t completed.

MYTH #6: There are lots of surprises, some not pleasant, in the process. Again, more FICTION. Some buyers are concerned that they won’t get what they paid for. And others are concerned about hidden costs at closing or otherwise. Once again, this is where it’s important to do your research. Explore the presentation centre and take a close looks at plans, finishes and amenities. Ask questions ‘en masse’ and if you like, visit other buildings by the same developer to see what they’re like. Ask about closing costs and what the builder will do to cap and/or eliminate some of them. The reputable builder won’t hide anything from you and they’ll be completely transparent in this regard.

MYTH #7: The best choice suites are always sold at the beginning of the project . While this happens often, sometimes buying after the opening has its advantages. Builders often hold choice suites, or in some cases, they will change the configuration of suites to suit the wants of the buyer based on their specific needs. Combining suites; two into one, three into two, often provides buyers with something truly customized with their personal preferences in mind. A terrific example of this can be found right in the heart of our great city at “The Davies” by Brandy Lane. Soon to rise on Avenue road where Forest Hill meets Yorkville, a limited selection of large expansive suites wrapping around two corners of the building are newly designed and available, a pure reflection of that builder’s desire to give purchasers everything they could ever want in a condominium; a combination of innovative design and function, incorporating house like features often not found in the most luxurious new condos anywhere. This builder is offering the best of the best in a trophy location where Avenue Road leads both up and down to the city’s most valuable location.This is happening in other projects in the location of your choice; sometimes it’s just a question of asking for what you want! Happy 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.

condostorecanada.com

mark@condostorecanada.com

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