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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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