If you were to guess which of these two choices would be the more expensive, would it be A or B?
The answer is B. A one bedroom and den with parking here is priced about $380,000 and is roughly $20,000 more than a comparable unit at location A. The truth is a location near the subway isn’t always the determining factor when it comes to demand. More importantly it is the neighbourhood and the surrounding amenities which people enjoy (case in point: Davisville condos are cheaper than at Yonge and Eglinton even though Davisville is closer to downtown).
One of Toronto’s best kept secret is in the west side between Spadina Ave and Bathurst St. Situated here are the fantastic neighbourhoods of Little Italy and The Annex which are well developed . Filled with a high abundance of restaurants and sidewalk cafes the neighbourhood offers an active outdoor lifestyle. The streets are always busy and alive with people at all times of the day. They are genuine neighbourhoods that is family centric and there is a real sense of a community. This is missing in areas of dense tall condominiums where the typical condo dwellers are single and in their mid-twenties. But here, tall skyscrapers are non-existent due to the city’s impose height restrictions on condo developers. Generally the buildings are under 10 storeys. The neighbourhood feel open and breathable. Congestion is much less. And because there aren’t any skyscrappers the streets are always sunny and bright.
Due to a lack of choices for condos and a lack of competition, those that sell fetch a high price. The group of three located close to each other are 308 Palmerston Blvd (Europa), 301 Markham St. (Ideal Lofts), and 456 College St (The Channel Club). It was the earliest condo to arrive. Built in 1990, the developer converted the old College United Church into an eight storey condominium. Further away near to Spadina subway at 736 Spadina Ave is The Mosaic. At 20 storeys it is the tallest in the area, however still short by most condo standards. The lobby is arguably an eye sore. The finishes are very standard. It is far from being upscale. Yet prices are very high for the excellent location, which is a thirty second walk to Spadina subway and a ten minute walk to Yorkville.
Many foreign born investors are not as familiar with the Annex or Little Italy as they are with the downtown crop of condos. Thus it is somewhat off the radar of the investors. But for buyers who love to be in these tremendous neighbourhoods, these condos are highly sought after. The sale prices are evident of that. From Bathurst St to Yorkville, it is just a five minute drive or three subway stops to Bay St. The lease market is also very strong due to it’s close proximity to UofT and the hospitals which offer renting to UofT students, and working professionals.
I believe there will be a strong push for future developments along Bathurst St north of Queen St to Bloor St and will revitalize these well established neighbourhoods. Developers are just starting to tap into this area. B.Streets condos is a high end project at the south east corner of Bathurst St and Bloor St. Abacus lofts at Bathurst St and Dundas St is a stunning smaller project with 8 storeys and 43 units. Nero condos is another one not too far from Abacus on Dundas St in the area known as Little Portugal.
- The driving force in these areas is that there isn’t a huge supply. When conditions of strong demand meet low supply, prices are pushed higher. In comparison, the downtown core has an abundance of selection (with many new condos to be completed between 2014 to 2016). Basic economics teaches us the rules of supply and demand. When there is a big supply, competition is fierce which keeps prices in control. When there’s not enough supply, buyers must pay more.
- Safe neighbourhoods that is family oriented with schools and parks.
- Walking distance to all the amenties: 2 large Metro supermarket, Sobey’s, restaurants, cafes, bakeries, many family doctor offices, dentists, a variety of shops. Many of these features are lacking in condo centric neighbourhoods in the downtown core or in Etobicoke’s waterfront where one still requires the TTC or car to get around.
- Easy access to TTC by subway or street car.
- Lower congestion and grid lock.
Current Pre-Construction Condos Selling
B.Streets (783 Bathurst St. at Bathurst and Bloor)
Located across from the famous landmark of Honest Eds, B.Streets has a fantastic location that’s within a one minute walk to Bathurst subway. It’s a 9 storey condo with 198 units ranging from studios, 1 bedroom, 1 bedroom and den, 2 bedroom, 2 bedroom and den, 2 storey lofts, townhomes. It offers great standard finishes with high end kitchen cabinetry and built-in appliances. Closing date April 2014.
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