M2M WILL BRING INCREDIBLE CONVENIENCE TO YONGE & FINCH

Baker Real Estate Incorporated has recently launched sales at the fabulous M2M Condos in North York! Situated on Yonge at Cummer Avenue, this condominium is part of the massive master-planned community that will eventually include five residential condo towers with a total of 1,650 suites, a selection of townhomes, plus a daycare and its own park with a playground. Residents will live steps to Yonge and Finch, and minutes to the Finch TTC Subway and Highways 401 and 404. Talk about convenience! Oh, and the Newtonbrook area is alive with amenities such as restaurants, cafés, schools and shopping venues, all just a stroll away.

M2M is brought to you by Aoyuan Property Group, a privately held company that is part of Aoyuan International Investment Group, a subsidiary of China Aoyuan Property Group, which is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. M2M Condos will be built on the 8.6-acre Newtonbrook Plaza site and will be Aoyuan’s largest master-planned community in Canada. Many people will remember bowling the evening away at the plaza.

Suites in the first release of two towers rising from a shared 8-storey podium begin in price from just $389,900. Suites are available in a wide range of square footages, so something for everyone. The Sales Offices is located at 5915 Yonge Street. For more information, call 416-901-2720 or visit www.m2mcondos.com

LUXURY IS ALWAYS IN DEMAND

Recent media reports show that Toronto luxury sales dropped significantly in the first quarter of 2018 over the same period last year. What these reports often fail to mention is that 2017 was an anomaly, and that this statement covers both low- and high-rise sales. It is true that all sales peaked just before the Fair Housing Plan and 15% foreign buyers tax were implemented. Interestingly, luxury condominium sales have remained strong throughout.

There is also still robust demand for luxury properties in the GTA. They are few and far between, so sales are picking up again. We are also seeing luxury buildings popping up in wonderful locations. Many purchasers are baby boomers who are leaving their large-scale, low-rise homes and right-sizing their accommodations. They are ready for a little pampering. They want a carefree lifestyle while enjoying freedom from outdoor chores, so condos are the perfect choice. The trend is toward boutique residences that are intimate in scale. Buyers also tend to want to stay in the general neighbourhoods they know and love – the places where they raised their families.  These right-sizers want to travel, and again, condos are the logical choice. I have even known a group of friends to purchase suites in the same condominium in order to stay close to each other. It’s a neighbourhood love-fest.

There will always be a segment of the public who want and can afford the most upscale condominium suites and penthouses. These choosy buyers want more convenience, less space and the ability to entertain and relax in stunning surroundings with incredible views. I have traveled the world, and as far as I am concerned, Toronto has the most exciting condominium market anywhere.

Remember that real estate is a cyclical business. We may weather many ups and downs in the economy, but we always do well in the long run, and luxury condos stand the test of time.

DOWNTURN? WHAT DOWNTURN?

When you read media reports about statistics, it is important to place them in the context of the big picture. We see a lot of negativity right now about the prices of new homes being lower than last year. Remember that 2017 was an anomaly in our cyclical real estate industry. New condo prices increased 30 per cent despite the Fair Housing Plan and rising interest rates.  It was a long time coming in Toronto for prices to peak like that.

 

Comparing this year’s sales to that blockbuster year, however, is misleading. In general, new home real estate prices may be down somewhat, but prices are pretty much holding firm for condominiums. Condos remain the strongest market segment in Toronto. Since January, Baker Real Estate Incorporated has launched several projects, and each has proven an unqualified success. It is easy to understand why. Most first-time buyers and Millennials have to favour the lowest price in housing options, and that translates to condos.

 

Demand still exceeds supply when it comes to new condos in Toronto and the GTA, for both investors and end-users. Our employment situation is good; the economy is strong; and we have ongoing immigration from foreign countries and other parts of Canada. Toronto has joined the ranks of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities, and relatively speaking, real estate here has been underpriced for a long time. We are catching up, and people of all ages are finding ways to achieve homeownership.

MILLENNIALS HOLD ONTO DREAM OF HOMEOWNERSHIP

Statistics in Zoocasa’s recent Housing Trends Report 2018 show that 84 per cent of Millennials surveyed consider owning a home a life milestone. Compare that to an Ontario Real Estate Association survey facilitated by Nanos Research Corporation, which found that 68.5 per cent of young Ontarians agree or somewhat agree that owning a home in their community is unaffordable. Of course, rents in the GTA are higher than ever as well. With rising interest rates and home and condo prices, the down payment required to buy is elusive for many young potential buyers. The interesting thing is that first-time buyers are finding ways to purchase every day, especially in condominiums.

First-time buyers are saving, receiving financial help from family members, going together to co‑purchase condo suites and doing whatever they can to make ownership happen. The government offers help in the form of tax credits, RRSP withdrawal allowances and GST/HST rebates. Some builders/developers provide incentives that help to reduce the bottom line. Potential buyers understand that getting into the market as soon as possible is wise.

If you have questions about how you might afford a home, check out CMHC’s “Homebuying Step By Step” and “Condominium buyer’s guide” online at www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/buho/.

TORONTO A STAR ON THE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL SCENES

Here I am once again, extolling the virtues of Toronto as one of the best cities in the world. Apparently, a lot of people agree with me, as Toronto continues to receive national and international accolades from a variety of sources. For example, this year alone, our city has ranked in the top-10 in six rankings, and in the top 20 in another two.

There are oh, so many reasons why we continue to attract a steady influx of immigrants and newcomers. Many come here for higher education, because we have superb universities and colleges in the city. In fact, recently, the University of Toronto placed 22nd in the 2018 Times Higher Education World University Rankings. In addition, U of T held the distinction of top Canadian university for the eighth consecutive year, and is in the top 10 of publicly funded universities worldwide. The latest U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 Best Global Universities rankings places U of T in the top 20 of global universities; in the top 10 of public universities; and seventh in North America!

And Toronto continues to improve when it comes to other areas of quality of life. Counted among the greenest cities in the world, Toronto is home to a myriad of parks, and the proposed new Rail Deck Park is sure to be a massive lift to the city’s urbanscape. The estimated cost for this signature park is $1.66 billion. The 21-acre green space will be built over electrified GO train passages in the downtown rail corridor. Sounds like this public space will be fabulously functional as well as beautiful. All I can say is, GO, TORONTO, GO!

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.