New Toronto area mid-rise projects affordable, efficient use of land

By Zoe Ackah, Epoch Times
March 1, 2014 9:49 am Last Updated: March 1, 2014 9:49 am

Spectrum Realty Services, the GTA’s largest real estate firm, currently handles around 30 low-rise projects around the GTA and is also a successful re-sale business. Co-founder Joseph Bozzo is confident that as opportunities for detached homes disappear in the GTA, mid-rise housing is the wave of the future. 

“On the low-rise side, inventory is extremely rare,” explained Bozzo. “People are lining up to purchase homes,” because inventory is at an all-time low. 

Last month, Spectrum handled sales for a release of 80 units in Markham’s Upper Unionville community at Kennedy and 16th Avenue. They sold in a day. With current levels of demand, the price of land is a major concern. 

“Land prices are pushed to the levels that are difficult for the industry to absorb,” Bozzo said.

Within the GTA there will soon be nothing but infill projects. Bozzo sees us moving further out, with Spectrum selling projects in Bradford, Barry, Newcastle, and Innisfil, beyond the greenbelt. 

For those looking to buy, Bozzo has this advice: “The sooner you get into the marketplace the better. … It’s becoming a marketplace with fewer opportunities.” A lack of supply and increasing demand mean the longer you wait, the more expensive it will be. 

So what’s next? “A lot of our development will be either stacked (townhomes), or 7- and 8-storey mid-rise housing. We’re going to see big changes,” said Bozzo.

One of the larger projects Spectrum is selling is Markham’s Cornell area at Hwy 7 and 9th Line. Grand Cornell Brownstones is soon to launch, and in keeping with the new market reality, is a stacked townhome project. 

Units in Grand Cornell start in the $350,000 range. The four-storey townhomes each contain four units, two on a single level and one split level. They are spacious, in the 1,000 sq. ft. range. A 1,000 sq. ft. two-bedroom condo in Markham would sell for much more. 

“This is the future of our industry in terms of affordability,” Bozzo said.

Aside from being attractive to end users, investors will also find value in stacked townhomes. “It provides investors with immediate cash flow returns,” said Bozzo, because larger units will rent for what a condo would, but with a 20 percent down payment, the rent can cover the mortgage payment.

That said, many know that in the long term, high-rise will take an increasingly larger share of the market. Spectrum Realty recently launched a new high-rise division called Spectrum Sky to be headed by former In2ition founder Mira Tomljenovic.