With Toronto’s housing prices among the highest in the country and the red-hot market showing no signs of cooling down much, this summer is as good a time as any to get in on the action. Buying real estate, however, is one of the biggest investments you can make and you shouldn’t go into it blindly. So what do you need to keep an eye out for? We spoke to the experts to find out what to look for in the Toronto real estate market for summer 2022.
What Kind of Property Should You Look For?
Alykhan Jinnah and the rest of the team at Volition Properties suggest house hacking, especially if you’re looking for your first property. House hacking means renting out part of your home – an extra room or a basement apartment, for instance – to help pay your mortgage. They suggest looking for a property that has a secondary suite or at least has the potential to create one, such as a property with a safe basement that has good lighting and that you can legally convert into a secondary suite.
RE/MAX Hallmark real estate brokers Shad Azar of Shad Azar Real Estate and Lisa Sinopoli suggest that you have two main options. One is to look for condo assignments, where the original buyer of a pre-sale condo sells their rights to the finished condo to someone else once the condo is ready. At the moment, more mortgage brokers are seeing original purchasers who don’t want to close on their condo deals or can’t assign for enough of a profit, so they want to get rid of their investments. The other option is to look for a fixer upper, especially if you’re a hands-on kind of person. These properties tend to sit on the market for longer in slower climates.
Which Neighbourhoods Should You Take Note Of?
The Volition team suggest you keep an eye on the massive new East Harbour development just east of downtown Toronto, where the idea is to create a mixed-use urban centre with regional transit and connectivity. The southeastern corner of Wallace Emerson and the area around the intersection of Bloor Street West and Dufferin Street are good too because of the proximity to the Galleria Shopping Centre, the Dufferin Mall and a new transit station.
Shad suggests the northeastern part of Wallace Emerson, around the intersection of Dupont Street and Landsdowne Avenue. It’s still close to the Bloor subway line and the St. Clair streetcar route. He also says to keep an eye on Stockyards, the area around the new Metro Park Condos near the Ontario Science Centre and the area around Freed Developments across from Victoria Memorial Square. The demographics are getting younger here.
What About More Affordable Areas?
The word “affordable” is subjective; even more so with housing prices having jumped by between 20 and 30 per cent, as Shad points out. He says that you can look at areas like Malvern in Scarborough or around the intersection of Weston Road and St. Clair Avenue West.
The Volition team has bad news if you’re looking for affordable housing downtown or even in the suburbs. They say that there isn’t always savings to be had on the outskirts and that you’d have to go quite a bit outside of town to see any changes in affordability. However, as the pandemic winds down, things may change.
Any Areas Not Worth Buying In?
Like the word “affordable”, the word “overrated” is subjective. As the Volition team points out, different people find value in different things. Some want to be around entertainment while others want to be near good schools. If you’re in your early 20s, you may love the excitement of Liberty Village but if you’re older, you may see this neighbourhood as crowded and expensive with poor public transit. So, it really all depends on what you’re looking for. One neighbourhood Volition singles out as maybe a tad overrated, though, is Willowdale. Properties here are very expensive for what you’re getting: a bungalow easily goes for $1.8 million.
What About Interesting New Projects?
Our real estate experts say to keep an eye on The Dawes Condominiums East of Main, Celeste Condos on George Street and the Metro Park Condos near the Science Centre, since these have a good price point. If you’re planning on renting out your property, it’s worth noting that these developments also have very good access to public transit: Renters don’t always have their own cars.
Shad is excited about Pinnacle One Yonge, which is located at No. 1 Yonge Street, right at the waterfront and a stone’s throw away from Union Station and the St. Lawrence Market. One of the skyscrapers in this development, SkyTower, is slated to be Canada’s tallest building, with a whopping 95 floors.
Another project Shad has his eye on is Tridel’s Lakeview Village development on the waterfront in Mississauga. There used to be a coal factory on the site but now it will become a waterfront village with condos, single-family homes and townhomes along with retail and office spaces, trails and parks. The focus will be on sustainability. Residents will also have direct access to public transit that can get them to downtown Toronto in 20 minutes.
Lisa’s gaze is firmly fixed on Vaughan. There are several condo developments in the area around the intersection of Jane Street and Highway 7. For instance, Festival Condos will be a multiphase mixed-use community right on the highway and only steps from the subway station and bus terminal, which can get you to downtown Toronto in just over 40 minutes. When Transit City 4 and 5 on Portage Parkway are completed, there will be a 9-acre park with a pond, bike paths, play areas and more, with the subway practically on your doorstep.
Whatever kind of property you decide to go for and whichever Toronto neighbourhood you’re looking in this summer, it’s a good idea to work with an experienced broker to get you the best property at the best price.