Canada's Condominium Magazine

No need to spend $1 million for a great home in Toronto

Marketers have long taken advantage of a quirk in our psychology that makes us perceive certain quantities as larger than others, though they describe exactly the same thing. So we are usually offered a ninety-day free trial offer on some product or service rather than a three-month one, ninety days sounding much longer to most people, thus making us more likely to take the bait.

This little trick does not work in reverse. Witness the current real estate market in Toronto. There is no way that $1 million, the average price of a semi-detached home in Toronto these days, sounds anything but more than, say, $475,000. If realtors and their marketers could figure out a way to make the larger amount sound like less than the smaller, you can bet they would use it.

That million-dollar price tag is now attached to a “starter” home in Toronto, not a luxury home as once would have been the case, according to a new report from Royal LePage.

Royal LePage says that four factors dominate in the pricing of a home: location, size, availability of amenities, and the current condition of the home. These four characteristics of a home vary considerably from region to region, the realtors group says, with buyers getting the most space for their million dollars in Winnipeg (3,385 square feet), and the least amount of space in Toronto (1,722 square feet). Lot sizes in Winnipeg as of January 2017 are on average about four times larger than in Toronto, at 13,454 square feet compared to 3,731 square feet. As can be seen, you get a lot more space in Winnipeg for the same price.

Whereas ten years ago a million dollars would have got you a large, fully upgraded home in some of Toronto’s best neighbourhoods, areas like Rosedale and Lawrence Park, today you’ll have to settle for a starter in an “up and coming” neighbourhood. To get more value, buyers have to venture farther and farther from the city’s core.

Source: Toronto Real Estate Board

There are alternatives, of course, as hundreds of thousands of Toronto condo buyers, many of them first-time buyers, have found. In the fourth quarter of 2016, Toronto condos had an average price of $437,281, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board. However, of the 6,831 condo sales recorded in the period, the majority, close to 2,500 of them, were in the price range of $300–$399.999. About 1,200 condos sold for $200–$299,999. More than 100 topped the million-dollar mark.

Living room rendering at Via Bloor from Tridel. Condos are priced from the mid-$300s in this brand new Bloor Street location steps from downtown Toronto.

Toronto homebuyers can still find affordable homes in the city, for far less than $1 million. Tridel’s new condos on Bloor Street East at Sherbourne, for example. Suites at Via Bloor and Via Bloor 2, now taking registration, range in price from the mid-$300s to over $850,000. The two towers, which will have a total of 374 units, are scheduled for occupancy in 2021. A wonderful location, great amenities, ample space, and the thrill of owning a brand new home—the four key characteristics that buyers look for in a home—are certainly here at Via Boor.

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