LUMINA TO SHINE A FINAL SPOTLIGHT ON EMERALD CITY

To say that the master-planned Emerald City condominium community at Don Mills Road and Sheppard Avenue East in North York is successful, is an understatement. Elad Canada’s dynamic neighbourhood includes eight towers that are completed or underway, and the ninth and final – Lumina – will go on sale soon. If you have ever thought about owning a condo suite in this remarkable location, NOW is the time to act. Lumina offers your final opportunity to own, and prices will begin from the low $400,000’s. Over the past few years since Emerald City opened, we have seen the value of real estate in the Sheppard-Don Mills area increase significantly, so what a fantastic opportunity!

Lumina will rise to an intimate 13 storeys and will include 245 suites. Amenities include a fabulous pool, outdoor terrace, private dining and gathering lounge, plus retail space on the ground floor to cater to residents’ needs. And speaking of their needs, this is one of the most convenient locations in Toronto, across from Fairview Mall, and close to the Don Mills subway station and access to Highways 401 and 404/DVP.

All residents can access the use of the facilities at the Parkway Forest Community Centre, with its full-size gymnasium, weight room, running track, dance studios, youth lounge, craft rooms, YMCA-run daycare, and a spectacular onsite Aquatic Centre.

Like its predecessors, Lumina is designed by the renowned design team of WZMH Architects. Register online at EmeraldCityLife.ca, visit the presentation centre on Sheppard, just east of Don Mills Road, or call 416-492-0001.

O CANADA!

Our beautiful country has earned international recognition once again! Recently, Canada was named the #2 Best Country in the World by US News in partnership with Y&R’s BAV Consulting and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and we came in #1 for Quality of Life! In fact, that’s the third year in a row we ranked tops for quality of life in this study. Only Switzerland beat us for #1 country in the world.

In this ranking, quality of life is based on affordability, job market, economic stability, family-friendliness, income equality, political stability, safety and quality of public services. In Canada, we do enjoy an enviable lifestyle, which is why our immigration is so dynamic. According to Statistics Canada, 21.9 per cent of Canada’s growing population is made up of immigrants.

In November 2017, our Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announced a historic multi-year immigration levels plan that will welcome 310,000 new residents this year, 330,000 in 2019 and 340,000 in 2020. This means that by 2020, upwards of 1 per cent of Canada’s population will be new immigrants. As I often say, these people have to live somewhere, and many will buy or rent condos – and we know from experience that a substantial proportion of our new residents will choose Toronto and the GTA!

2017 A RECORD-BREAKING YEAR FOR CONDO SALES

The Altus Group statistics are out for new home sales across the GTA 2017, and what a year it was for condos! New home sales across the board were the fourth strongest since 2000, and 82.5 per cent of the 44,143 homes sold were condominium apartments in low-, medium- and high-rise buildings, stacked townhouses and loft units. That was the highest number of condo apartments sold in any year in the GTA.

Why is this trend in condo sales continuing and increasing? In a nutshell: price, supply and demand, and lifestyle. Although the benchmark price of new condo apartments rose to $716,772 (41.3 per cent over December 2016), that is still a far cry from the $1,225,774 for low-rise homes. In addition, new home inventory is down dramatically. Add to that the fact that many people today, from first-time buyers to empty-nesters, lead hectic lives and long for the carefree living condos offer. We also have an aging population of retired individuals and couples who appreciate single-level, low-maintenance living.

Of course, investors represent a significant portion of condo purchasers, because they realize a great investment when they see it. I cannot say it enough: for a wise lifestyle and financial investment, GO CONDO!

THE LOWDOWN ON HIGH RENTAL ACCOMMODATIONS IN TORONTO

Anyone thinking of investing in a new condominium suite in Toronto would be wise to act soon. On the PadMapper.com website, the January 2018 Canadian Rent report shows Toronto as THE most expensive city in the country for one-bedroom rental accommodations. The median rents for all homes available or vacant in December 2017 are based on the median price of a one-bedroom apartment, which in Toronto was $2,020 (15.4 per cent year over year). Median two-bedroom prices jumped 14.5 per cent over last year, to $2,520. This is THE city to invest in, with immigration fueling the continuing desperate need for rental stock, and the vacancy rate sitting at under 1 per cent.

Of course, new condo prices have increased greatly, but in the long run, investors recognize how lucrative owning real estate in Toronto can be. Imagine how well those who invested in suites a few years ago are doing, with rents being as high as they are now.

Remember that real estate is real, not just words on paper such as stocks and bonds, and historically brings a great return-on-investment over time. Remember, too, that in Toronto and the GTA, we are experiencing more demand than supply.

Once again, I say for a wise financial investment, GO CONDO!

HOLIDAY GIFT SUGGESTIONS FOR CONDO-OWNERS

It’s that time of year, when we’re making lists of gift ideas for loved ones. If you have a condominium-owner on your list, or someone who will be moving into a condo in the near future, give some careful thought to what that person might appreciate in the new surroundings. The key is flexibility. Modern condominiums are designed to maximize space, yet are often compact. Think multi-functional, especially for the condo kitchen. Gone are the days when people have space to store numerous small appliances such as rice cookers, slow cookers, yogurt makers, pressure cookers and the like. The great news is that nowadays, manufacturers have come up with innovative small appliances that do the job of several of these. A small gift of stacking coffee mugs or kitchen towels that will add a pop of colour are other possibilities, depending on your budget. If you want to go a little larger and know the condo-owner’s décor tastes, consider an ottoman that doubles as a coffee table, seating and/or storage unit.

If you are looking for stocking stuffer ideas, consider a decorative wall hook or a USB drive your loved one can use for digital media storage. Let your fingers do some shopping on your computer keyboard for more ideas, such as edible gifts, a cozy blanket beautiful enough to use on the bed or as a throw, a fabric laundry bag that can hang on the back of a closet door, or serving trays that can double as dining surfaces. Even better, tickets take up very little space in a wallet.  A new or recent condominium purchaser may be on a tight budget for a while, so think about an experience gift in the form of tickets to a play, concert or sporting event. A magazine subscription is another great idea.

Bed linens, placemats, a multi-tool gadget, a handheld vacuum … the possibilities are beautiful and exciting. Just remember that your family and friends who live in condos likely do not have space for a lot of “things.” Then go with your heart and your budget, and you will find the perfect gift.

THE AGE-OLD STORY OF SUPPLY VS. DEMAND

The most recent Altus Group statistics released by BILD indicate that in the Greater Toronto Area, we are still behind demand when it comes to the supply of new homes available. The supply increased in October, but is still well below what is considered viable in the face of demand. At the end of October, there were only 9,308 multi-family homes and 3,192 single-family homes available across the GTA.

Condos, in particular, are coveted by new home buyers. In October, 91 per cent of new homes sold were multi-family homes. Condo sales that month were 81 per cent above the 10-year average, as well as the highest ever recorded for an October. Over the past few years, condominium sales in the GTA have broken long-standing records and continue to take centre stage in the new home, and even resale marketplace.

Why are we so far behind in supply? Blame the provincial government, which is lagging in approving existing land for development. Developers and builders are building as fast as they can, but bureaucratic red tape poses continual hold-ups in getting land approved for residential development.

The moral of the story is to get into homeownership as soon as you can, while mortgage rates are still low – and condominium is likely the way to go. Let’s hope the supply-demand scenario changes in 2018!

A WHIRLWIND OCTOBER FOR GTA CONDO MARKET

The statistics are in for October 2017, and condominiums drove the soaring new construction home sales for the month. Approximately 91 per cent of the 5,377 homes sold were multi-family. Condo sales were 81 per cent above the 10-year average and reached the highest October on record! On top of all of that, prices were up slightly from September.

If you look at new home sales for 2017 to the end of October, 82 per cent were condo apartments in high-rise and mid-rise buildings, and stacked townhomes. In a nutshell, condos are selling like the proverbial hotcakes to three main groups: investors who are helping to provide new rental housing, end-users who can afford condos over low-rise homes, and end-users who appreciate the convenience of carefree condo living.

To say the condo market in the GTA is healthy and stable is an understatement. We may well be on track to have a record-breaking year for GTA sales. If you are thinking of purchasing a condo, NOW is the time to do it!

You can read BILD’s News Release on the October data at http://bildgta.ca/news/newsreleases.

TARION WARRANTY ANOTHER REASON TO BUY NEW

Most first-time buyers, and all home buyers, understand that with a new home or condominium suite, you have the benefit of Tarion Warranty coverage. Certainly, freedom from worrying about major repairs and knowing deficiencies will be taken care of at no cost to you offer peace of mind over buying resale. But did you know that over time, that coverage follows the home, rather than the buyer? This is great news all around. If you purchase new and then sell before the coverage ends, having it in place is a key selling point. Anyone who purchases from you will get the benefit of the coverage until it runs out.

There are oh, so many reasons to choose a new home or condominium. Consider the most up-to-date construction techniques, materials and green features; the opportunity to select the features and finishes that will personalize your fresh, clean surroundings; the knowledge that you are the first owner in your brand-spanking new home. And warranty coverage to boot!

FAMILIES IN CONDOS? IN TORONTO, IT’S A TREND

I have written a lot about condominium owners bringing up their children in Toronto rather than the 905 areas for a variety of reasons. For many, living in Toronto means a short work commute, resulting in more time to spend with their children. Add to that the convenience of maintenance fees covering the repair and upkeep of the grounds, exterior, amenities and other shared areas, and the lifestyle is certainly appealing. Remember, too, that Toronto is home to amenities and attractions that appeal to all ages, including youth. In response to this growing demand, our developers are designing with families in mind.

One example is Canary Commons, the fourth phase in the fabulous Canary District community in Toronto’s Downtown East. About 2/3 of the nearly 400 suites in this condominium are two-bedroom, two-bedroom + media or den, three-bedroom and three-bedroom + media or den layouts, in sizes from approximately 600 to 1,359 square feet. These large, gracious designs are perfect for end-users who have children. The condominium will even include a Children’s Play Area among its amenities, along with barbecue and fitness areas, a dining room with catering kitchen, lounge, pet wash room, yoga and Pilates studio, and theatre room.

Remember, too, that Canary District is home to the Cooper Koo Family YMCA with activities for all ages. These include after-school programs and childcare facilities. Plus, Canary District is connected to the wonderful 18-acre Corktown Common Park, which encompasses a marsh, landscaped lawns, playground areas, a splash pad and communal picnic area. By the time Canary Commons occupies, more amenities will be added to the area.

Suite prices will begin from the high-$300,000s. Register today at www.canarydistrictcondos.ca/

WE NEED MORE CONDOS TO ACCOMMODATE INCREASED IMMIGRATION

On November 1, 2017, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen, announced a multi-year immigration levels plan to increase the number of immigrants to our country to 310,000 in 2018. That is a substantial rise of approximately 13 percent over this year’s number. Then in 2019, the number will increase to 330,000, and in 2020, to 340,000. That adds up to nearly 1 million immigrants over the next three years.

 

The reasons for welcoming immigrants to Canada include fostering economic growth as our population ages and fewer people are going into skilled labour jobs. Toronto is a natural magnet for immigrants – we are the largest centre of research, education and innovation in the country. We have internationally renowned educational institutions and a leading-edge manufacturing industry.

 

Many of the immigrants who will come to Canada in 2018 – likely tens of thousands – will settle in Toronto, and of course, as I have said many times, they have to live somewhere. As so many immigrants are used to apartment-style living, they naturally graduate to condominiums when it comes to purchasing new homes. Those who are not prepared to buy will turn to renting, and our condos in Toronto are filling a major rental accommodations gap. However you slice it, when we think of our city’s future, we need more condominiums!

 

You can read the Government of Canada’s news release here: www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/news/2017/11/news_release_growingcanadaseconomicfuture.html