TORONTO NAMED ONE OF THE TOP 10 MOST VALUABLE CITY BRANDS IN THE WORLD

Global City Lab’s analysis report released in December 2019 ranked the top 500 city brands in the world. Toronto came in 10th, and was the only Canadian city in the top 10. Based on the dimensions of reputation, governance, culture, economy, environment and talent, Toronto’s brand value was set at US $773 billion. That Toronto has done so well with urban branding is a triumph in competing on a global scale.

2020.01.20 Blog

According to the researchers at Global City Lab, the first professional organization to evaluate city brand values, a city brand embodies a city’s core competitiveness. A brand ranking is an indication of national power. It also reflects the “story” the city can tell through its residents, government and media. And Toronto certainly tells a wonderful story. In the past few months alone, Toronto was ranked as one of the world’s most beautiful cities by travel site Flight Network; the 7th most livable city in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s annual Global Liveability Report; and one of the world’s most innovative cities by JLL’s Global Research team. Those are just a few of the accolades our wonderful city has earned over the past year.

Now, let’s add all of this to the recent announcement that Canada’s economy is on an expected path to reach the eighth largest in the world spot (after being 10th in 2018 and 2019) on the London-based Centre for Economics and Business Research, and the overall picture is outstanding. GO TORONTO, GO CANADA!

NEW CONDOS CONTINUE TO REIGN IN GTA

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BILD has released the Altus Group statistics for November 2019, and the news is good on all fronts. Overall, new home and condo sales were up 53 per cent from November 2018 and 19 per cent above the 10-year average.  Condo sales were up 32 per cent over November 2018 and 29 per cent above the 10-year average. According to Altus Group, when we receive the statistics for 2019 as a whole, new condo sales will be among the top four years ever!

2020.01.02-go-condos

Add to that the fact that the benchmark price for new condos was $866,827, up 10.2 per cent over the previous 12 months, and you have all the more reason to get into the market now, if you have not already.

In the BILD news release, President and CEP David Wilkes remarks that he anticipates a strong demand for new homes right into 2020. He also points out that in order to ensure stable prices and keep the industry supplying great jobs and contributing toward economic growth, the focus has to be on increasing housing supply.

Mortgage interest rates remain unbelievably low – for now – so NOW is the best time to get into new condominium ownership!

YET ANOTHER REASON TO LIVE IN TORONTO

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Toronto has joined the ranks of the finest cosmopolitan areas in the world, largely because of the high quality of life residents enjoy – and that quality continues to rise. This month, Mayor John Tory was one of the 14 leaders who signed the C40 Cities Declaration at the World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen.

The declaration urges the reduction of meat consumption and food waste, and making more plant-based options affordable and sustainable. By signing, the Mayors committed to achieve a planetary health diet by 2030, and to consider climate action in all urban decision-making. This comes at an opportune time, as we just saw thousands of residents take part in the Global Climate Strike across the city.

Congratulations Toronto, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Guadalajara, Lima, London, Los Angeles, Milan, Oslo, Paris, Quezon City, Seoul, Stockholm and Tokyo for taking this important step forward in the sustainability of our planet!

“UNTITLED” AN EXCITING CREATIVE COLLABORATION

You may have read the news already – Reserve Properties and Westdale Properties are collaborating with Pharrell Williams to bring curated condominiums to Yonge and Eglinton. Called untitled, this collection will include two towers at this in-demand location.

Why Pharrell? The partnership was born out of a desire to do something really unique for Toronto and architecture as a whole. Reserve and Westdale believe by bringing in a cultural icon with vision and ideation from outside the realm of real estate it would help break the mold in terms of what has traditionally been done.

The amazingly creative Pharrell Williams is collaborating with Reserve Properties and Westdale Properties on untitled, a collection of curated condominiums at Yonge and Eglinton in Toronto.

The Grammy Award-winning artist, producer, songwriter, philanthropist, fashion designer and entrepreneur is known for high-profile collaborations, including a capsule collection with Chanel and a long-standing relationship with Adidas and Human Made. Other collaborative projects include an upcoming Youth Centre in Virginia Beach with Oppenheim Architecture + Design, work with Zaha Hadid Architects and the creation of the Something in the Water Festival. Pharrell’s collaboration with Reserve and Westdale marks his first foray into multi-residential development.

Pharrell worked alongside Reserve Properties, Westdale Properties, and the design team, responding to everything from the vision and materiality of the architectural facade, to the overall interior programming and even the furnishing choices for individual spaces. The fabulous amenity spaces the team collaborated on will include a expansive spa, gym and yoga studio, basketball court, rooftop dining with barbecues and pizza ovens, plus an indoor/outdoor swimming pool as well as a co-working garden lounge to name a few.

Pharrell even helped decide on the name of the project explaining how untitled reflects the concept that physical space is a backdrop upon which residents can make their homes their own.

The project is most exciting, and talk about an all-star team! Exteriors are by IBI Group architects, and interiors are by U31, both firms that have earned international renown.untitled is just steps to the Yonge Street Subway Line and the LRT. Purchasers can choose from studios to three-bedroom designs, all with a balcony. It is all truly fresh, new and exciting. To register, visit http://untitledtoronto.com/

BRAVO FOR BILL 145 PASSING SECOND READING

On Monday, November 25, Bill 145 passed a 2nd reading. It took only 2½ hours of debate to pass the “Trust in Real Estate Services Act 2019,” which if it passes a 3rd reading and Royal Assent, will replace the Real Estate and Business Act, 2002. The Real Estate Council of Ontario administers and enforces the Act to regulate the more than 86,000 registered sales people, brokers and brokerages in the province. This legislation protects consumers by helping to ensure that real estate professionals conduct themselves ethically. I support this move by the provincial government – something for which Ontario REALTORS® have been advocating for years.

On Nov. 25, Bill 145 passed a 2nd reading. The “Trust in Real Estate Services Act 2019” replaces the outdated Act that regulates registered real estate professionals in Ontario.

Among the many improvements this bill incorporates are enhanced customer protection through increased transparency, improved professionalism, the streamlining of the code of ethics and adding to the Real Estate Council of Ontario’s ability to encourage compliance, and the creation of a stronger business environment including a potential specialist certification program. In addition, the new act permits real estate professionals to form personal real estate corporations so they will pay taxes at much lower corporate rates. It’s win-win all around, as it will make Ontario a North American leader in establishing professional standards for real estate professionals!

Things are happening quickly, so if you want to help make the “Trust in Real Estate Services Act 2019” a reality, you can contact your local MPP and ask that person to vote YES to Bill 145 www.REBBAReform.ca/action.html, and go onto social media and send emails to encourage others to contact their MPPs. To read the new act, visit The Legislative Assembly of Ontario at https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/bills/parliament-42/session-1/bill-145

ALTUS GROUP STATS SHOW OCTOBER CONDO SALES ABOVE 10-YEAR AVERAGE

It is always exciting to read BILD’s posting of the Altus Group statistics. The numbers for October show that condo sales in the GTA accounted for 3,424 out of the total 4,720 new home sales. The result was 13 per cent above the 10-year average.

In addition, the benchmark price of new condominiums was up to $833,827, which is 7.5 per cent over the last 12 months. As I always say, condominiums are a great lifestyle and financial investment for both end-users and investors.

I also agree with BILD President and CEO David Wilkes, who applauds the provincial government’s commitment to achieving long-term balance in the housing market. He, I and many other new home professionals have been saying that the process to bringing new homes to market should be faster and easier in order to fill the demand and be fair to everyone involved. To read the entire press release about the statistics, visit https://bit.ly/2qBtlZ7

MY CONDO CRYSTAL BALL

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As a seasoned professional in the new condominium industry, I keep up with current trends, and I also think ahead to the new year. I have a few predictions for 2020.

2020 Predictions: more condo popularity in the GTA with low interest rates, job market strength, increased international and interprovincial migration; fewer balconies included in condos for more interior space; and more Zen-type areas to encourage enhanced wellness.
  • First, I predict a strong market for Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area next year, as mortgage interest rates are still amazingly low, the job market is strong, international immigration and interprovincial migration are on the increase, and there is a dearth of rental housing available. RBC’s Focus on Canadian Housing Report of September 25 states that in Toronto, the pace of rental supply will have to double to meet future demand. Condominium investors are critical to that process. The word from the agencies we deal with at Baker Real Estate Incorporated is that condominiums represent 60 per cent of new construction, and that percentage is growing.
  • I also see a shift coming in the way developers and purchasers look at balconies. Right now, having a personal outdoor space is a must for many buyers, and developers include as many balconies as the building design will allow for. With prices continually on the rise and square footages getting smaller, I believe people will prefer the square footage a balcony takes up to be put toward their interior layout instead. Keep in mind that the outdoor shared amenity spaces in today’s condos are extraordinary. This predicted trend is a reality in cities such as New York right now, where you do not get balconies in new condos, period.
  • There has been a lot of media attention recently to circadian rhythms – our sleep/wake cycles. When these are out of whack, we can experience insomnia, daytime sleepiness or both, putting us at greater risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disorders. The trend toward including Zen gardens and meditation-type areas in new condos has started. I see more of this kind of shared space in the future, including the possibility of nap rooms in offices and work areas, to encourage mindfulness and enhanced health.

INTERGENERATIONAL LIVING IN CONDOS

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Long ago, multigenerational living, referred to recently as intergenerational living, was a way of life for Canadian families who shared accommodations. Culturally and internationally, this continues to be an accepted practice, and nowadays we see a lot of families with grown children opting to live in the same suite or different suites in the same building.

Baker Intergenerational Living

For example, some parents have their post-secondary education enrolled children live with them, rather than paying out for residence and room and board. These families save thousands to put toward their mortgages. Some millennials in the working world move back in with their parents to save money toward owning homes themselves. Another situation we see a lot of is parents helping their grown children purchase suites in the same condominium, often on different floors. Essentially, they live together, yet apart for convenience and privacy. The opposite happens when adult children purchase a suite in the same condo they live in for their aging parents, which makes helping to care for the older generation more convenient.

Whether it is one large suite for two or more generations, or two or more suites in the same building, condominium living can be the perfect answer to your lifestyle needs. As I love to say, GO CONDO!

TORONTO HIGH IN WORK-LIFE BALANCE WORLD RANKING

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Once again, the City of Toronto is racking up impressive world rankings in a number of areas. Recently, Toronto was chosen by KISI (https://bit.ly/2M6R6RH) as one of the top 40 cities in the world for Best Work-Life Balance 2019. The parameters of the study included Work Intensity, Society and Institutions, and City Livability. Toronto came in 13th out of the 40 cities considered.

Toronto ranked as one of the top 40 cities in the world for Best Work-Life Balance 2019

KISI is a mobile access technology company of keyless security experts. To conduct this study, they began by choosing in-demand metropolitan areas around the globe with “sufficient, reliable, and relevant datasets.” The ranking was based on an assessment of how much time people dedicate to their job, including commuting and working hours, along with several other considerations such as equal treatment, health and welfare programs, overall happiness, safety and access to leisure activities.

It is easy to understand why Toronto ranked high. Our city is a magnet for immigrants because of the quality of life we enjoy. The purpose of KISI’s study is to make municipalities and countries aware of how they can enhance the happiness and productivity of their residents. I agree – they can all take a lesson from Toronto!

TORONTO AND THE GTA LEADERS IN NORTH AMERICAN POPULATION GROWTH

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I have said it numerous times over the years: Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area continue to welcome new residents, so we have an ongoing need for new homes and condominiums. Never has that statement been more important, since the results of a recent study by Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Research and Land Development were released. Toronto is now the top-growing city in North America, having welcomed more than 77,000 new residents last year alone. In addition, the GTA is the second-fastest growing metropolitan area and is predicted to grow 40 per cent by the year 2041. That is only 22 years from now.  

Toronto is the top-growing city in North America; the GTA is the second-fastest growing metropolitan area and will grow 40 per cent by 2041.
Toronto is the top-growing city in North America; the GTA is the second-fastest growing metropolitan area and will grow 40 per cent by 2041.

The planning implications for the next two decades are astounding, especially when you consider the predicted rise in density. By 2066, the GTA’s density is estimated to climb from 4,000 people per square kilometer to more than 7,700 – that is nearly double. Building “up” rather than “out” is obvious. New condominiums are the answer to housing newcomers, and the industry is rising to the occasion. Last year, Toronto ranked first on the “Crane Index.” Plus, the Rider Levett Bucknall Crane Index reports that in July of this year, we had 120 active cranes in the city, ranking us as having the most real estate development on the continent. In the first quarter of this year, the number of new condo units under construction in the GTA reached over 70,000 for the first time ever.

Once again, condominiums lead the way in Toronto and the GTA!