The new home market across the GTA waxes and wanes, but one thing that remains constant is the hot demand for condominiums. The year 2010 was fabulous, with high-rise accounting for a whopping 55% of all new home sales – breaking all previous records! Plus, BILD (Building Industry and Land Development Association) reported that November condo numbers were the best-ever for that month!
Much of this exciting success has to do with affordability; condominiums usually offer price points that enable first-time buyers to enter the market. And with the Bank of Canada maintaining amazingly low interest rates, the opportunity is phenomenal. Immigration and the influx of new residents from across Canada have a major influence as well. Those who come from cities where apartment-style living is the norm often choose condominiums when they decide to buy homes.
Another reason why the condo scene is so electric is the explosion of demand in the areas surrounding Toronto. BILD reports that in 2010, new home sales were distributed nearly equally between the 416 and 905 areas, which is incredible. The municipalities around Metro Toronto are conforming to the Greater Golden Horseshoe Growth Plan, and condominiums are a natural fit because they cluster residents near transportation hubs and help prevent urban sprawl.
From the look of things, the need for condos will continue to be strong. The GTA has seen a tremendous quantity of new housing introduced over the past decade, yet housing starts in relation to population are much lower than those in the late 1980s when we experienced an oversupply.
In addition, the rental apartment vacancy rate declined in 2010, which also indicates that our new housing supply is healthy – and of the rental stock added, few units were investor-owned new condominium suites.
People buy condos because they love the lifestyle, and we are extremely fortunate to have so many wonderful choices available in incredible locations. Baker Real Estate alone has nearly 3,000 suites coming to the market during the first half of this year. For an increasing number of homebuyers, condominium living offers the best of all possible worlds – and we’re ready for them!
Barbara Lawlor is President of Baker Real Estate Incorporated