While the introduction of the Fair Housing Act in April had plenty of naysayers, so far it has proven largely successful in its primary goal of cooling the GTA real estate market.
Sales have slowed across the region and prices are now softening after months of double digit growth. Toronto condos, on the other hand, continue to rise both in terms of price and new builds.
According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, condo sales were up 21.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016, while prices increased by 24.3 per cent. The new measures will likely mean that growth won’t be as strong for the second quarter, but reports from sales agents suggest condos will continue to increase in price. That is the case for Toronto, but also its suburbs, where more and more condominiums are being built.
New Transit Extends Buyer Reach
This hasn’t escaped the attention of Zoocasa sales agent, Carlos Moniz, who identifies the main reason these properties are becoming more popular outside of the 416 area code.
“For me, the whole reason someone would buy a condo is for location, to be close to work,” he says. “But the condos that are outside the city are all about the lower cost. There are tons of condos in Mississauga and the price points are quite reasonable. A one-bedroom condo there will be between $300,000 and 400,000.”
Commute Time is Key
After Toronto, Mississauga is perhaps most associated with condo buildings, but these properties are now popping up all over the GTA. With improved public transportation in the region, people are more open to living outside of Toronto and property developers have taken note, as Moniz explains.
“Anywhere on the Lakeshore GO line, Oakville and Burlington, you are starting to see more condos being built,” he says. “The buyers will be professionals that want to get into the market but can’t afford downtown Toronto, so they buy something at an entry level price point along the GO train line and still have a nice commute to work.”
Hamilton Top City for Buying a Condo in the Suburbs
The ability to commute to Toronto means that people that work in the city are now considering moving to locations that would have been out of the question not so long ago. Hamilton is a case in point: this is a city returning to former glories after decades of neglect which means it has emerged as one of the premier investment locations in all of Canada. With both public and private money flooding into Steeltown, Hamilton condos are under construction across the downtown core, and will soon to be joined by an ambitious new $360 million project dubbed ‘Television City.’
“It is the fastest growing city in Canada because pricing was so low for so long,” says Moniz. “Now it is starting to gentrify and there are a lot of investment properties there. There is an LRT going downtown, so there is a lot of money being pumped into the city.”
Hamilton isn’t alone when it comes to new condo developments. The idea of living in a tower surrounded by other units doesn’t have the stigma it once did, which is why you will find people going the condo route not just in the GTA, but throughout the Golden Horseshoe
“There are condos even in Barrie now,” he says. “Vaughan, where the TTC is extending to, you are seeing that as well. Mississauga has that huge development by Rogers. Home prices have climbed so much in the last five years that they are unobtainable for a lot of people. Condo prices have also increased a lot in downtown Toronto, so there are more going up in the suburbs.”