There’s no end in sight for many homebuyers’ love affair with downtown condominium living in Toronto, according to Dominic Tompa, Broker of Record for City Life Realty.
There are two types of buyers driving this trend, Tompa told the Epoch Times. One is the young buyer whose idea of an ideal lifestyle is being able to live, work, and play in urban settings. The other buyer is the baby boomer/empty nester who finds it doesn’t make sense to be in the suburbs anymore and is tired of the commute.
Tompa belongs in the second category; he and his wife downsized from a large single family home to a condo at HighPark Condominiums, a Daniels Corporation development on Bloor St. City Life is a subsidiary of Daniels and handles sales of its high-rise projects.
“The price gap between low-rise and high-rise will narrow as the condo will become the choice for more buyers,” says Tompa, but location will be key. Most sought-after will be projects on transit routes that offer an array of lifestyle amenities.
Tompa doesn’t see any market slowdown ahead, even if interest rates have a small bump upward: “The condo market is quite reasonable and affordable with high-rise prices increasing just slightly above inflation last year,” he says. “People will see the value of the condo market.”
The Daniels Corporation is more than simply a builder of new home and condominiums in the GTA. It’s been at the forefront of transforming neighbourhoods.
In the early ’90s, Daniels executed one of the first urban renewal projects in Toronto at Lakeshore Village, on the site of an old Goodyear tire plant where 862 co-op housing units were built. In partnership with Toronto Community Housing, it has been the builder/developer for the remarkable transformation of Regent Park from a decaying, isolated social housing project to a vibrant, mixed-income neighbourhood.
The company is also figuring prominently in the transformation of Toronto’s East Bayfront with Daniels Waterfront – City of the Arts, a visionary mixed-use master-planned community that will include residential and office condominiums.
While the residential units will appeal to end users and investors, Tompa says the office condominiums will offer something new to investors who like real estate but want to diversify.
“Office condos are a real growing marketplace,” he says.
Daniels’ redevelopment of Regent Park continues with The Bartholomew, a 13-storey condo under construction (one of the last developments in Phase 2) and the first building of Phase 3 to launch in the fall.
Regent Park has attracted a lot of Chinese new Canadians, Tompa notes. At Regent Park, buyers can take advantage of First Home BOOST, a down-payment program for first-time buyers who are currently renting. Those who qualify can get an interest-free loan from Daniels for 10 percent of the purchase price, which boosts the 5 percent down payment to a 15 percent down payment and lowers monthly mortgage carrying costs. Daniels also offers a gradual deposit payment plan so buyers don’t have to come up with a large down payment upfront.
Daniels will also launch a second 35-storey building as part of Arc condos in its Daniels Erin Mills master-planned community this year.
For years, condo suites have been getting smaller, but Tompa has seen a trend toward larger suites in response to demand from end users who want “700 square feet rather than 500 square feet.”
Daniels has been a trendsetter in the area of amenities and Daniels Waterfront will be no exception, with offerings such as a kitchen library where residents can borrow items such as blenders that they use only occasionally and don’t have room to store in their suites. There will be a jam studio where residents can get together to play music, and an arts studio for people who paint, draw, sculpt or want to learn to.
Like all recent Daniels’ buildings, it will also have an urban agriculture area. With other amenities such as outdoor cocktail pools and cabanas, living at Daniels Waterfront will provide a lifestyle similar to a high-end boutique hotel, Tompa says.
The neighbourhood itself is very walkable, close to many amenities, the Distillery District, and all the waterfront has to offer, as well as the Ontario College of Art and Design and George Brown College.
Tompa notes that several buyers of office condos at Daniels Waterfront have also purchased residential suites so they will be able to live and work in the same location.
“That’s one of those trends that will grow over the next 10 years,” he predicts. “It’s part of the getting away from spending a lot of time in cars. It’s a much healthier lifestyle and the focus for many people is to have more balance in their lives.”
Tracy Hanes is a Toronto area freelance writer.