There are a number of efforts underway to increase the amount of park space in the city of Toronto and homeowners should take note. If successful, these efforts could have an impact on Toronto real estate values.
One proposal would see a 21-acre park built overtop of the rail line between Blue Jays Way and Bathurst Street.
The proposed park, dubbed Rail Deck Park, would cost over $1 billion to build – not including the cost of purchasing rights to the air above the tracks, which are owned by Toronto Terminals Railway (TTR) and CN Rail.
However, there are a number of obstacles that stand in the way of Rail Deck Park. Chief among them is that, as the Toronto Star reports, no funding has been secured for the project as of yet.
Another potential hiccup is that buying the air rights could also be a complicated matter.
In the meantime, city councillor Mike Layton has proposed that a 2.3-acre park be built at Bathurst and Front – the same west-end neighbourhood as the Rail Deck Park project.
The city already owns the land, which is currently vacant and sometimes used as a parking lot, according to the Star.
Yet another proposal would see a new “super park” built in the lower Don River valley. The proposal is a combined effort between Evergreen Canada and the City of Toronto, aided by money from private donors. It would see the creation of a massive green space, stretching south from the Evergreen Brick Works down to Lake Ontario.
Are New Parks Good News for Homeowners?
All of these proposals to increase the city’s green spaces may have Toronto townhouse and condo owners wondering whether they will see their property values increase as a result. According to a study conducted in the U.S., the answer is yes.
The study, titled “The impact of parks on property values: empirical evidence from the past two decades in the United States,” found that properties that touch or look out on a park can have their values positive impacted by up to 20%.
For his research, John L. Crompton reviewed 30 empirical studies on the topic and found that in most cases, properties close to parks enjoy a boost in their value when compared to properties outside the park’s service zone.
However, the type of park can also make a difference. Crompton suggests that parks which are used heavily and cater to a large number of users don’t boost a property’s value as much as those that are used less frequently and by fewer people.
Improving Neighbourhood Quality
Zoocasa CEO Lauren Haw is in favour of Rail Deck Park, saying that the additional greenspace will improve the neighbourhood’s livability and make properties in the area more desirable.
“This kind of neighbourhood development is absolutely related to your home’s value,” Haw said.
“Desirability certainly factors into the increase your home’s price when you’re ready to sell.”
Haw also adds that access to green space is frequently cited as one of the reasons why people choose to move out of condos and into houses, often outside of the downtown core. Therefore, adding more parks will allow young families to stay in their condos longer, making the downtown core more livable.