Bubble, Bust or Boom: Why Buying a Condo Right Now in Toronto Is the Right Choice for Young Families
Ah, the Toronto real estate market. The buzz around home buying in the 416 is absolutely electrifying…or terrifying, depending on whether you are the home owner who has seen their dilapidated two bedroom semi climb in value by 23% (Source: Teranet-National Bank) in one year or the young, hard working couple trying to find a starter family home.
Everywhere you turn, there is someone offering his or her two cents on the piping hot Toronto real estate market. You have the naysayers warning of a housing bubble that will burst like in the 1980’s when interest rates skyrocketed to 21% (Source: Murat Yukselir/The Globe and Mail) and Toronto became riddled with for sale signs. Then you have the real estate players saying Toronto has been undervalued for far too long and that Toronto home prices are simply catching up. Toronto is a global city and like it’s counterparts Vancouver and New York, it is now being valued as such; so even if the market goes bust, real estate in Toronto will easily recover and steadily climb. I must admit, I believe there is something to the latter opinion. After all, isn’t the oldest saying in real estate, “It’s all about location, location, location!”
So what if you are not the Toronto homeowner who practically sees dollar bills lining your plaster hallways? What if you are the young couple who has worked hard and saved earnestly, and desperately wants a home in Toronto so you can raise your offspring in the city you love? I’ve got one word for you: Condo. “What?” You say. “Raise kids in a condo?” Yes. Absolutely.
First of all, in Toronto most $600,000 condos rival the size of a small two-bedroom semi detached home, which will set you back at least an additional $200,000, if not more. Of course any low-rise home you purchase in Toronto under a million dollars will be a fixer upper since teardowns in the city are now going for a cool 1.25 million. Moreover, you will have to compromise on location because the only low-rise homes not subject to the almighty bidding war are those in rough neighborhoods where you might not actually want to raise a family.
So buying a low-rise house in the hot Toronto market will likely see you having more debt, higher mortgage payments, paying for renovations (and possibly living through them), and having to compromise on location and likely safety, all the while living in a space comparable to today’s new family sized condos. Now you get why I said if you want a home in Toronto where you can raise a family, buy a condo. Purchasing a condo instead of a low rise home in Toronto will get you close to the same square footage, a lower price, a completely renovated space, and a long list of desirable locations to choose from. These are incredibly important facets to home buying; in fact, they are THE facets when it comes to purchasing a home. Current starter houses in Toronto just cannot offer you the same robust real estate options a condo in the city can.
What about the idea of your kids playing in a backyard? Just take a look at the dog run style backyards that are on offer in the current starter homes in Toronto and suddenly the spacious, no maintenance condominium roof top playground and urban forested area full of trails and critters become all the more enticing. Did I mention that condo buildings are beginning to house daycares too? Just take a look at Bloor Promenade Condos.
Condos have become the new option for families in Toronto and it’s no surprise that condo sales in the region are up 79% (Source: Building Industry and Land Development Organization) from the same time last year. Of course, there are still lifestyle condominiums focused on young urban professionals or retirees so it’s important to choose a building that either has young families currently in residence or has family friendly facilities as part of the development plan.
In a hot housing market in a global city like Toronto, real estate remains a safe bet. But why should you have to sacrifice size, cost, style and location. You don’t. If you choose a family friendly condo you are choosing more space, less debt, less work and more safety; all the things that create the kind of safe haven children need to feel at home.
Blog by By Lara Watson, M.A. Lara Watson is a journalist and real estate writer living in Toronto.