NEW CONDO MARKET IN GTA STRONG IN SEPTEMBER

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Great news on the new home front! According to the Altus Group statistics released by BILD in September, a strong new home market in the GTA continued with total new home sales up 73 per cent from last September, and 6 per cent above the 10-year average. Condominium sales rose 39 per cent from last September and were also 6 per cent above the 10-year average. The benchmark (typical condo) price was up 6.5 per cent over the last 12 months.

September GTA stats show that condos remain a hot ticket! (Image of 11YV by  RioCan, Metropia, Capital Developments)
September GTA stats show that condos remain a hot ticket! (Image of 11YV by RioCan, Metropia, Capital Developments)

This is in keeping with the national trend occurring in home sales across Canada. The Canadian Real Estate Association reports that in September, sales in our large metropolitan areas increased 15.5 per cent from one year ago. The national average price for homes sold in September was up 5.3 per cent from September 2018. In addition, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s recently released annual forecast increased its housing starts estimate to 204,300 (4 per cent higher) for 2020 and predicts Toronto home prices will rise as much as 5 per cent next year.

Overall, the news is good, so if you are on the fence about purchasing a new condominium, it is time to take the jump and add a suite (or two or more) to your financial and/or lifestyle portfolios.

TORONTO NAMED 6th SAFEST CITY IN THE WORLD!

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Well, 2019 is turning out to be another banner year for Toronto, with more accolades piling up. The Economist Intelligent Unit’s 2019 Safe Cities Index recently ranked Toronto as the 6th Safest City in the World. Sponsored by NEC Corporation and subtitled “Urban security and resilience in an interconnected world,” the index ranks 60 cities across 57 indicators that cover security in the categories of digital, health, infrastructure and personal. Toronto was the only Canadian city, and one of only two North American cities ranked in the top 10.  

The Economist Intelligent Unit’s 2019 Safe Cities Index ranked Toronto as the 6th Safest City in the World (only Canadian city ranked in the top 10).

The Economist team conducts in-depth research to compile this list each year. By “urban resilience,” the report measures the ability of cities to handle and bounce back from disasters and other shocks. The genesis of this thinking is that as of now, 56 per cent of the earth’s population live in cities, and that by 2050, that number will rise to 68 per cent. The result is that urban management plays, and will continue to play, a key role in the quality of life of most of our population.

Certainly, Toronto’s relative safety compared to the rest of the world attracts immigrants who appreciate the already high quality of life we enjoy. Many, if not most, of these newcomers choose new condominiums for their homes of choice. To find out more about The Economist survey, visit https://safecities.economist.com/safe-cities-index-2019/

ONGOING CONDO DEMAND FUELED BY IMMIGRATION

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The 2016 Census showed that 17 per cent of all recent immigrants to Canada live in Toronto, and that if that trend continues, we would see nearly 170,000 immigrants moving into the city by 2020. According to the Canadian Government, Toronto has the highest per capita immigration rate in the world, and 43 per cent of all new immigrants to Canada settle in the Greater Toronto Area. The World Population Review posted that Toronto has the second-highest percentage of foreign-born residents of all world cities after Miami. The result is that immigration is at its highest peak in a generation, and Toronto’s population is inching up toward 3 million, making it the largest city in Canada by population. As I continually say, newcomers have to live somewhere.

43 per cent of all new immigrants to Canada settle in the GTA. You can understand why the demand for new-construction housing – especially condos – is strong on an ongoing basis. GO CONDO!

People who immigrate to Toronto and the GTA appreciate the high standard of living we enjoy, especially considering the conditions in some of the other countries in the world. They are also used to living in, and raising their families in, high-rise apartments. Condominiums are a natural choice for many newcomers. Add to that the fact that across Toronto and the GTA, condos represent the most attainable price points in the new home market, and between immigrants, first-time buyers and investors, are always in demand.


At Baker Real Estate Incorporated, we know that right out of the gate, our first sales are to investors who know that buying early in the process gets them the best prices and the most choice of suites, floors, etc. Of course, not everyone’s life falls in line with a five-year construction timetable – and the good news is that for those with an immediate need, there is plenty going on with new construction that is built and toward the end of the selling phase, as well as resale condos. The upshot is that there are condos out there for everyone at every stage of life. GO CONDO!

1 PHILLIPS SQUARE A REMARKABLE OPPORTUNITY IN MONTREAL

We have stupendous news! In the heart of downtown Montreal, 1 Phillips Square (1 Square Phillips) will soon be introduced by well-respected developer Brivia Group. Sales at this highly anticipated residential condominium will launch later this fall, and we are excited to represent this incredible ownership opportunity on Sainte Catherine Street, only a block away from McGill University.

To say this location is a sensation is an understatement! Sainte Catherine is undergoing an exciting redevelopment with larger sidewalks, WiFi and smart LED lights. Shopping, dining, entertainment, the business district and Place des Festivals all lie within walking distance. The nearby McGill Metro station is part of the massive infrastructure project called REM going on in Montreal to connect all feeder lines with a light rail-type system. Eaton Centre is also steps away, and it will soon include a Time Out Market, the massive Lisbon food and drink hall that will offer versions of some of Montreal’s most gourmet restaurants. Montreal is one of the few cities in the world where this Market is being replicated.

Perfect for professionals who want to live close to work, families, rightsizing empty-nesters and investors from across Canada and around the world

At 61 storeys, 1 Phillips Square will be the tallest residential tower in the city. Its stunning three-phase design is by Menkès Shooner Dagenais Letourneax (MSDL) Architects in collaboration with Hill West Architects New York. This 6-corner design means more corner units, and its fabulous exterior will contribute to the revitalization of the area. Landscaping is by Claude Cormier et Associés.

With residential suites beginning on the 22nd floor, residents will have unprecedented views of the mountains, river and cityscape. Luxurious interiors are by the MSDL team and innédesign, which is well known for delivering a superior brand. Among the fabulous building amenities will be a 10,000 square-foot indoor/outdoor terrace space at the 50th floor (the top level of one of the phases). There will also be a scotch lounge, a juice/smoothie bar, gym, pool, spa, yoga studio, lounge and an automated parcel delivery system.

Purchasers will be able to select from studios, one- and two-bedroom and three-bedroom units, penthouses and super penthouses, with the top size being 2,988 square feet. Each suite, even the most compact studio at 380 square feet, will come with heated bathroom floors and an automated iPad home automation system. Innovative appointments also include a swing door to integrated closets in the bedroom, eliminating the need to purchase a dresser – especially nice in the smaller layouts.

HOT NEW INCENTIVE PACKAGE AT THE UNITED BUILDING

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The United Building by Davpart Inc. ushers in a whole new lifestyle at University Avenue and Dundas Street West in Toronto. This mixed-use re-envisioning of the historic Maclean Publishing/Maclean Hunter building now includes a new collection of suites, plus a hot new incentive program – 10 per cent down and a three-year leaseback program. 

What a spectacular opportunity for anyone considering living in this new landmark on Toronto’s cityscape! ERA Architects and B+H Architects have created a striking exterior featuring the restored heritage structure housing office and retail at the base, with a new contemporary residential tower rising above it (rising to 54 storeys in total).

Just announced: a new collection of suites and a new incentive at The United Building. Take advantage of 10 per cent down and a three-year leaseback program.

Talk about location! The building will include direct access to the St. Patrick’s TTC station, and the 505 streetcar stops at the door. Even more convenient, there are numerous amenities within walking distance. Skating at Nathan Phillips Square, taking in an exhibition at the AGO, taking a course at Ryerson University or University of Toronto, and shopping at Eaton Centre are all just a stroll away.

Right in the building, residents will enjoy the exclusive use of a party room, fitness facilities, 4-season reflecting pool, sauna and rain room, among other amenities. Suite choices range from studios to three-bedroom + den designs.

The Presentation Centre is located at 481 University Avenue, at the corner of Dundas, on the main floor. For more information, call 416-849-7700 or register at www.theunitedbldg.com 

250 LAWRENCE AT AVENUE ROAD COMING TO BEDFORD PARK

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Elegantly modern is a wonderful way to describe 250 Lawrence at Avenue Road, Graywood Developments’ new residential condominium coming to Toronto’s exclusive Bedford Park area. Luxury is paramount in this sophisticated neighbourhood that was previously out of the financial reach of even elite buyers. With prices beginning from $599,900, 250 Lawrence is now the only obtainable way to own a new condominium suite with a premier Bedford Park address.

250 Lawrence

Backing onto Toronto’s ravine network, 250 Lawrence will sit on a 1.46-acre property and will include just 178 suites – unheard of in Toronto. The area’s tree-lined streets create a private natural setting, while the condominium is also mere moments from shopping and restaurants along Avenue Road and the boutiques on Yonge. Subway access is nearby as well. The condominium is also close to the finest schools in the city, including Havergal College and Lawrence Park Collegiate.

A contemporary exterior designed by renowned Quadrangle Architects will complement the residence’s surroundings, which will include views over the Douglas Greenbelt. Choices include one-, two-, and three-bedroom suite layouts, all with chic appointments. Suites range in size from 501 to 1,524 square feet, with prices from $599,900 to $2,189,900 – incredible!

If living in the coveted Bedford Park neighbourhood is your idea of a dream, make it come true! Register NOW at https://250lawrence.com/

U OF T PLACES 18th IN THE WORLD IN TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION RANKING

There is great news for Toronto this month on the international education front! The University of Toronto placed 18th in the Times Higher Education 2020 World University Rankings. Considering the fact that the ranking examines approximately 1,400 institutions each year, this is incredibly impressive. The ranking is three points higher than U of T earned last year. It is the highest ranked in Canada and one of the highest public universities in the world in several international rankings.

The University of Toronto placed 18th in the Times Higher Education 2020 World University Rankings. World-class education is one of the many reasons why new condominium buyers flock from around the globe to our city. Congratulations, U of T!

U of T and the other universities in Toronto have a lot to do with the ongoing immigration to our city, as well as the ongoing demand for new condominiums. We enjoy such a high quality of life, with world-class education, recreational, cultural, shopping and sports venues in our boundaries, what who can blame other people in the world wanting to live here?     

DISCOVER PRESTIGE PLUS AT 11 | YV

Coming soon from the visionary team of Metropia, RioCan and Capital Developments, 11 Yorkville Residences will offer the ultimate in luxury living at a prestigious Toronto address. This 62-storey condominium gets high marks for everything from world-renowned architecture by award-winning Sweeney & Co to its amazing location. In fact, 11 Yorkville rates a 100 per cent WalkScore® and a 97 per cent Transit Score. From this iconic building, you can be at University of Toronto in eight minutes, Ryerson University in 10, and Union Station in 14. 

11 Yorkville Condos will offer the ultimate in luxury living at a prestigious Toronto address. Enjoy exquisite architecture, outstanding features and sumptuous amenities.

This pinnacle residence is surrounded by a new community park and some of Toronto’s most elite retail venues. From studios to three-bedroom layouts, purchasers will find exquisite suite designs enhanced by elegant features and finishes. When Miele appliances are standard in the kitchen, you know you can look forward to sophisticated living. Kitchen appointments also include a marble hood enclosure, a marble island with waterfall and integrated dining table, and custom wine and stemware storage. With ceiling heights at 9’, 9’6” and 10’, the effect of these beautiful designs will be stunning.

Add to that the impressive roster of building amenities, and you have an irresistible package for the discerning purchaser. Among these are the Wine Tasting/Piano Lounge, Bordeaux Lounge, Theater, Business Centre, Kids Recreation Centre, Pet Spa, Outdoor Zen water feature, Outdoor lounge area with BBQ, indoor-outdoor infinity pool and hot tub surrounded by a fireplace and black marble, Fitness Studio, Men’s and Women’s Spa with steam rooms, and a TV Lounge/Chef’s Kitchen. Registrations are being taken for private appointments to tour the fabulous presentation centre and model suite. Visit https://bit.ly/2kO5TVv

GOVERNMENT FEES ON HOMES IN GTA AMONG HIGHEST IN NORTH AMERICA

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We hear so much about new home affordability eroding in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area, and how difficult it is for first-time buyers to realize homeownership – but I wonder how many consumers realize that the fees imposed by our governments contribute significantly to the cost. Recently, BILD commissioned a report by Altus Group to examine government fees, taxes and charges on new homes in the GTA, and it turns out they are among the highest in North America.

For the average new single-family home, these charges add $222,000 to the cost, which on a per-unit basis is nearly double those in other Canadian urban areas, and three times higher than on average in six U.S. metropolitan areas. Government-related fees in the GTA add around $124,000 to the cost of an average high-rise condo suite, which is approximately 30 per cent higher than in other Canadian urban areas, and one-and-a-half times those in six U.S. metropolitan areas. To say the charges here are disproportionate is an understatement.

An Altus Group Report for BILD shows that government fees, taxes and charges on new GTA homes are among the highest in North America. Transparency is important. Our governments must accept responsibility for their role in eroding housing affordability.

When it comes to government, transparency is important. Canadians have the right to know exactly what we are paying in the way of government-imposed fees, and why. All three levels of government have the responsibility to help hard-working Canadians, yet the existing new home scenario is counterproductive. At least in the U.S., the government does not impose sales tax on new homes, whereas here in Canada, that figure ranges from 5 to almost 15 per cent before applying rebates. Even worse, our charges here continually increase as new fees and development charges are imposed, making this scenario difficult to resolve.

Despite these extreme charges, the new home market in Toronto and the GTA has been, and remains robust. Unless our governments at all levels take a more realistic look at charges on new homes, there is no telling how long this can last. To read BILD’s news release, visit https://bit.ly/2lX8RY5

THE GOLDEN RULE: KEY TO HAPPY CONDO LIVING

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Life in the vertical community we call a condominium involves meeting neighbours on a regular basis in hallways, elevators and amenity spaces. In order to keep things humming along on a positive note, following the “golden rule” is paramount. Check the code of conduct your board of directors sets out and abide by the guidelines. These exist to protect your, and everyone’s health, safety, privacy, comfort and enjoyment. These may cover restrictions on pets, what you can place on your balcony, conduct when using the building amenities, etc.

Disagreements can escalate if not addressed, and communicating with members of the board is critical. They are approachable and can mediate any negative situations that arise. After decades in the new condominium industry, I can tell you that it amazes me how well things run in these residences. Living in a condo can be a lot of fun – and so can serving on the board of directors. Board members often become friends, even though they typically hail from a variety of backgrounds including sales, law, administration, landscaping and the like.

Being a good neighbour takes on a deeper level of importance in the vertical community we call a condominium.
Being a good neighbour takes on a deeper level of importance in the vertical community we call a condominium.

Remember that your happiness and enjoyment in a condominium is really up to you. To find out more about the rights and responsibilities of condominium owners, check out Consumer Protection Ontario’s website on “Owning a Condo” at www.ontario.ca/page/owning-a-condo. And make the “golden rule” your day-to-day rule.