Where the smart money is heading
As the market adjusts to new realities, here are the areas buyers should be looking at
By Gay Abbate – Globe and Mail
With home sales cooling, prices moderating and a healthy housing inventory, market realities not seen recently will shape buyers’ decisions over the next 12 months.
Whether you are looking for a condo, a luxury home, a house in the mid-price range or a recreational property with the potential to become a permanent residence, there are certain areas that will hold their value in recessionary times.
So, where should the smart money go? Which areas represent the best return for your money? Where will your investment provide the best quality of life?
Those for whom money is not an issue can buy a condo anywhere they choose.
But if finances are a key factor, two developing areas that are not yet gentrified and will prove a good investment.
One is the Riverside/Leslieville community, which is the hottest area in the city, with prices one-fifth to one-quarter of those for condos in the Waterfront, St. Lawrence Market and King Street West neighbourhoods.
The area from River Street east to Leslie Street, between Queen and Dundas streets, is extremely vibrant, with buildings being bought up and renovated.
Condo prices there are in the $200,000 to $400,000 range, although some can be found for as little as $180,000.
The West Donlands, between Parliament and River streets, south of Queen down to the Gardiner Expressway, is another up-and-coming area that offers good value. Condos there will sell for $400 to $450 a square foot.
Within the next two years, prices of condos along the Queen strip from Leslie to Dufferin Street will be all in sync at $500 to $600 a square foot.
Sections of Richmond, Adelaide and Kings streets between Parliament and Sherbourne will also become a great places to live. Prices, however, are slightly higher than in the Leslieville neighbourhood because land closer to Yonge Street is more expensive.
The Toronto condo market is more stable than last year, and there are great values to be had by looking in the right places.
Luxury house market
Lifestyle, rising energy costs and ever-increasing commuting times make living in the downtown core more desirable for those with more than $1-million to spend.
Hazelton, Lowther and Elgin avenues in Yorkville will continue to be choice investment areas. In those areas, in the long term, the location is stellar and the quantity of supply is limited.
Townhouses in Yorkville are historically protected and especially attractive to those who love the location but want a backyard, and therefore aren’t interested in living in one of the new luxury condos being developed in the neighbourhood. Buyers are attracted to these streets because of their proximity to the exclusive Bloor Street/Bay Street/Avenue Road retail district. Houses with parking start at $1.5-million, but $3-million is a more realistic price.
South Rosedale’s Chestnut Park and Cluny Avenue are attractive streets because of their proximity to Yonge and the subway, he notes. The average house price is $2-million.
House buyers should also cast their eyes to Warren, Dunvegan and Old Forest Hill roads, where the average price is $5-million. That gets you a large lot, tree-lined street and some of the city’s most influential families for neighbours. Some people are snapping up two lots on these streets and turning them into single properties, thus reducing the number of houses that could potentially come on the market.
The luxury market is expected to remain very stable, and buying in these areas will become more desirable and a good investment.
Buyers looking for houses priced between $500,000 and $800,000 should consider parts of the Davisville, Leaside and East York neighbourhoods. The market in those areas is healthy, while schools and amenities are excellent, he says. Little is available in these areas for under $500,000, but there are good properties in the $500,000 to $700,000 range.
Manor Road, Hillsdale Avenue and any street off Bessborough Drive in the Davisville community offer good value.
In Leaside, houses on Thursfield Crescent, Vanderhoof Avenue and Donlea Drive are excellent buys because the streets are safe and the area has great schools. Some detached starter homes on Thursfield begin at $550,000. Detached houses go for $800,000 to $900,000.
In East York, there are good neighbourhoods at Pape Avenue and O’Connor Drive and at St. Clair Avenue and O’Connor. They have nice housing stock, good communities and are affordable and safe. Prices range from $450,000 to $800,000.
Another part of the city that offers excellent value is north and south of Danforth Avenue between Broadview and Coxwell avenues. You can expect to spend between $400,000 and $600,000.
In Etobicoke, homes on streets south of Lake Shore Boulevard West offer excellent value for $500,000 to $700,000.
Semi-detached houses have been more affected by the slowdown in the real estate market, some by as much as 10%, which makes them a wise investment.
Recreational properties are selling at affordable prices outside of the usual cottage areas, such as Muskoka, which is out of reach for most people. Prince Edward County has waterfront lots for as little as $180,000 and as much as $1-million. Prices are still reasonable because the island has not gotten the attention other areas have received.
Waterfront properties with non-winterized cottages on Lake Consecon and Roblin Lake sell for about $200,000. If you have significantly more to spend, South Bay, Green Point Road and Glenora Road are choice communities in which to live.
Those interested in farmland can purchase about 75 acres with a farmhouse and barn for $350,000 plus.
Towns such as Picton combine country life with big-city amenities such as theatres, shops and restaurants. It has the large historical homes – full of character and architectural details – that rich merchants built, and that are now in high demand, he says. Prices in Picton are in the $250,000 to $300,000 range, although there are more expensive properties.
Other areas to consider are Port Hope, Cobourg and Niagara-on-the Lake, although they are pricier than Prince Edward County.
The market for recreational properties is slower than last year, and the inventory is limited while the demand is high. But there are still good buys that will only increase in value.
- Luxury Living: The glam slam All forms of luxury homes in the GTA have...
- The Toronto Condo Stereotype Shatters It’s no longer just downtown first-timers who buy; high rises...
- New hunting grounds eyed as Toronto real estate market tightens Potential homeowners are searching harder to find overlooked areas that...
- Toronto, the (un)affordable While some condominium prices are skyrocketing — a $17 million...
- Condo townhomes fuse ground-floor living with high-rise amenities A flourishing trend, condo townhomes are part of the blueprint...