The proliferation of condominiums across Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area has been astounding over the past decade. Purchasers span the gamut from first-time homebuyers who find detached residences out of their financial reach, to professional couples, families, empty-nesters and retirees, all seeking the convenient lifestyle condos offer.
Once relegated to the City of Toronto, condominiums are popping up all over the GTA as well. The Altus Group statistics from July 2018 released by BILD show that there were 1,284 new condominiums sold in Toronto, while the total for Durham, Halton, Peel and York Regions was 795. Now, it looks as though this trend is spreading out to places beyond the 905 areas.
This is especially true for baby boomers. The Royal LePage Boomer Trends Survey (https://bit.ly/2KFIahg), released on August 8, shows that more than 1.4 million baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) plan to purchase a new home in the next five years. Over half of the people surveyed consider their current local housing market unaffordable for their retirement years, and 32 per cent responded that they will likely buy a condominium.
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The survey indicated that in Ontario, nearly half of the respondents said they hope to move to a smaller home to downsize (or as I prefer to say, right-size) their lifestyles. Most boomers in Ontario have a preference to moving into a smaller detached home, yet 46 per cent said they would consider a condo. With 40 per cent saying they would be willing to move to a new city or suburb for more affordability, Ontario has the highest rate in Canada. In fact, 32 per cent of those respondents would even consider moving more than an hour away from where they currently live.
Greater Toronto Area developers who have been focusing on building condos in the 905 areas will likely find this trend agreeable, as boomers move from homes in urban Toronto to locations that offer affordability and a more laid-back lifestyle. Places such as Barrie, Innisfil, Peterborough, Grimsby, Orillia and the like will probably see their condominium rosters increase with new buildings.
We tend to read a lot about first-time homebuyers turning to condos for affordability, but a lot of this trend has to do with boomers discovering the retirement savings they thought would carry them comfortably into the future will not take them as far as they thought, in the style to which they are accustomed. Plus, nine per cent of the total boomers surveyed expect their children to stay at home until after the age of 35, which adds to their dilemmas. It is easy to understand why condominiums are in such demand with this demographic.
This also supports my continual comments that condos are a driving force in the housing market and will continue to be for quite some time.
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