When investing in a pre-construction condo in Toronto, it almost always comes down to the location. Recent trends tell us that jobs are making a major shift back into Toronto and the younger generation are willing to give up large lots and homes for increased convenience to:
- Every day needs (Grocery store, Gym etc.)
When analyzing urban locations, we pay close attention to access to transit, ability to walk around, and future plans coming to the neighbourhood.
1. Public access to transit
Transit access has become one of the most important features of a condominium. Buyers and renters are willing to pay a premium for condominiums along key transit lines for a couple of key reasons.
- It greatly reduces the need for a car (and in most cases, especially downtown, completely eliminates the need for a car) which can save end users hundreds of dollars a month.
- Increased convenience When it comes to transit – the pecking order is:
Subway > StreetCar > Bus Key Corridors
When looking through Toronto’s downtown core, condos on Yonge Street, University Street, Bloor Street typically have the highest transit scores as the subway lines run under them.
The streetcar in Toronto has a daily ridership of 291,000 people. The following streets are considered to be the main arteries of Toronto’s streetcar system: King Street, Queen Street, Dundas Street, College Street.
Upcoming Transit Upgrades
In a previous entry in our blog, we broke down which new potential upgrades to the cities transit infrastructure would benefit certain communities. Right now projects like the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, York-Spadina Subway Extension, Finch West LRT, and Sheppard East LRT are slowly going to be transforming the communities they surround.
WalkScore is a terrific tool for analyzing how “walkable” a particular location is. A WalkScore over 95 typically signifies that you can access most major amenities by foot. Any score you see from 90 – 100 tells you that a car is almost not necessary at all. 70 – 89 means you can accomplish most errands by walking. Anything lower than 70 would almost definitely require a vehicle.
Key amenities to consider are:
● Grocery Stores
● Drug Stores
● Coffee Shops (Believe it or not, many buyers in Toronto put extremely high emphasis
on proximity to certain brands of coffee shops)
● Gym (if there is not one provided within the building)
3. Future Plans
Future plans tell us where the neighbourhood will be tomorrow. Most condominium projects are delivered in a 4-6 year window. Lining up your purchase with major future plans can be very profitable and below are some examples and what to look out for.
1. Master Planned Communities & Revitalizations
Buying early into a master planned community is a tried and trusted investment strategy which has been successful time and time again. Buying into a neighbourhood before it becomes a neighbourhood is the perfect “buy low, sell high” strategy.
When a master planned community has multiple condominium phases, it is not unusual for a developer to increase prices as they launch future phases where developers are driving appreciation.
A good master planned community would also factor in space for exciting retail and
commercial space which in turn would improve walkability and convenience, both of which are very important to a “good location”.
- A successful master plan must have the backing of a major Developer (such as: Daniels, Lanterra, Cityzen). Be wary of developers without a track record taking on major revitalization projects. Should include Residential, Retail (improved local amenities) and Commercial (jobs) components.
- Should all be planned ahead of time and not “as they go” (Where will the residential go? Where will the grocery store go? Where will the jobs be? etc.)
- Should have multiple condominium phases to benefit from appreciation from the developer with each additional phase.
Examples of successful Master Planned Communities:
- CityPlace – Developer: Concord
- Liberty Village (Prices doubling in 6-7 years) – Developer: Multiple
- Regent Park (From $325 per square foot to $550 per square foot since 2010) – Developer: Daniels
- Canary District & PanAm Village – Developer: DundeeKilmer & Urban Capital
- Treviso Phase 1, 2 & 3 – Developer: Lanterra
- Garrison Point Condominiums – Developer: Cityzen
- East Bayfront – Developer: Daniels, Tridel, Great Gulf
2. Major Events
Toronto is growing on an international scale and international events are inevitable. Major events in Toronto can also dictate growth patterns and will be areas that will attract investment from the commercial and retail space which will impact growth and demand. The following are some major events that have made a significant impact in the nearby condo communities.
1. TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival)
TIFF is headquartered in the Entertainment District at King & John. Since the switch from Yorkville in 2011, the Entertainment District has seen enormous growth with prices and rental rates amongst the highest in the City. Prior to this, this pocket of King West had relatively low residential demand.
2. PanAm Games in 2015
In 2015, The West Don Lands in Toronto played host to the PanAm Games. As a result, there was a huge investment made to build brand new transit lines, parks (including an incredible 18-acre park called “Corktown Commons”), new retail and sports facilities to house the games. This entire neighbourhood was transformed in a very short timeframe and there is an expectation for this pocket to see even more growth moving forward.
There are many other aspects that go into analyzing a condo project. Location, price, the developer building the project, and other factors should all be taken into consideration before making a significant investment. For the information on the latest Toronto condominiums and the best condos to invest in, stay tuned to the condo listings and blog section at TalkCondo.com