Tag Archives: detached home
High-rise projects sandwiched between downtown and the suburbs have to offer more to compete effectively
By Derek Raymaker – The Globe and Mail
The vast choice in new high-rise condominium suites in central Toronto has wedged prices and demand in a nice equilibrium, if temporarily.
At an average price of $331 a square foot across Greater Toronto, condominium prices are not spiralling out of control in the same way as new detached homes, even though four high-profile super-luxury projects, including one under the Ritz-Carlton banner, have been launched, driving up the average price.
And Torontonians should be surprised and satisfied to know that condo prices here are in line with most other Canadian cities, and actually a bargain compared with Victoria, Vancouver and Calgary.
When you pull yourself away from the economic analysis (which shouldn’t be too hard) and visit the sales centres of new downtown projects, you’ll find finely tuned marketing machines aiming directly at the lifestyle-oriented instincts of buyers looking for convenience and trendy design.
But it’s location that will always trump these other factors, and a hot corner can be worth all the granite countertops in the world. There are over two dozen condo sales centres currently open in central Toronto, and there would seem to be something for everyone .
In Etobicoke, the western lakeshore straddling the mouth of the Humber River continues to hit the right notes with buyers. The subway — and subway extensions — have guided North York’s high-rise development. And the Scarborough Town Centre transit and highway corridor is the site of pretty much all of the high-rise projects in that former borough. Of course, these all come with the discount you’d expect for being out of the trendy loop that exists south of Eglinton Avenue.
None of this is rocket science to any savvy marketing team. But there is one key advantage these traditional low-rise neighbourhoods have over the trendy downtown projects that bodes well for future high-rise development. That is the prevalence of tens of thousands of older couples who want to sell their large maintenance-intensive houses, but not leave their neighbourhoods.
There’s also the added bonus that many of these older buyers are able to buy a high-end two-bedroom suite priced at $500,000 or so with no mortgage after they sell their family house for $750,000 in pockets like Lawrence Park or The Kingsway.
Bayview Avenue has been a particularly popular spot for new empty-nester buyers looking for a well-appointed suite with larger square footages than you’d find in downtown Toronto‘s shoeboxes in the sky to handle all the family heirlooms.
Daniels Corporation’s Kilgour Estates, just south of Lawrence Avenue, has been a huge hit with homeowners from the immediate area, with prices starting at $474,000 and going up to $1,586,000 for between 1,072 and 2,293 square feet.
Further north on Sheppard Avenue is Shane Baghai’s St. Gabriel Village, on a site to be shared with a church and to feature an emphasis on energy conservation. It has been on the market for a year with prices at $479 a square foot.
The overall price picture outside of downtown features many projects with fairly expensive suites like those mentioned above, and loads of traditional high-rise condos catering to the first-time buyer on a budget, but not much in between.
The early data for 2006 indicates it’s been a soft market overall in these areas, with a lot of building going on but not much buying.
In west North York, the average high-rise suite price reported for February was $269 a square foot, up a modest 3.8% from February, 2005, according to data compiled by RealNet Canada. The North Yonge Street corridor reports a price of $316 a square foot, up 1.6% from February, 2005, while Scarborough was at $276 a square foot, up 6.1% from February, 2005.
Etobicoke average suite prices are actually above the Greater Toronto average at $359 a square foot in February, up 3.1% from $348 in February, 2005.
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By Rebecca Laing
In a metropolis known as “the city of neighbourhoods”, how does one find their place? Because of the unique characteristics and vitality of its many communities, Toronto has upwards of 240 distinct and named neighbourhoods within its boundaries. As you can imagine, selecting a single neighbourhood as my favourite choice of residence is a difficult feat. But, the lure of Riverdale prevailsâ€¦
Why Riverdale? It’s absolutely lovely here. Riverdale has a beautiful assemblage of mostly older homes laden with character, as well as a handful of very tastefully built newer homes. There are wonderful parks, excellent schools, and fantastic shopping and dining on the Danforth. Riverdale is convenient, with quick accessibility to downtown Toronto through multiple subway stops, TTC streetcars, and the Don Valley Parkway. Overall, Riverdale is a superb community, especially for young families. I know you will love Riverdale as much as I do!
North Riverdale Homes
North Riverdale stretches from Gerrard Street East in the south, to as far north as Mortimer Avenue in spots, reaching to as far as Greenwood Avenue in the east, with the Don Valley Parkway serving as its western boundary. (Note that borders are imprecise and non-linear throughout Riverdale). The area’s residents are mainly young professionals and upper-middle class families, as well as some long-term residents who have lived here their entire lives.
North Riverdale homes display both Edwardian and Victorian architecture, dating from the late 1800s to the 1920s. Homes are mostly two and three stories, and range from very large detached homes, to tall and skinny semis and rowhouses. Many North Riverdale homes have been wonderfully restored, with the utmost attention to detail.
Other than in multi-million dollar renos and design magazines, never have I seen finer materials and more exquisite dÃ©cor than in some of these renovated Riverdale gems. It is the trend here; residents take great pride in their homes, both inside and out. The gardens are lovely, full of perennials, and enhance the beautiful architectural details of these historic buildings. The streets here are hilly, winding, and tree laden, setting a perfect backdrop for these inviting residences.
In the part of North Riverdale above the Danforthh, proximity to Jackman Public School, and the Danforth itself, are major drivers of real estate prices. South of the Danforth, Withrow Park serves as a hub of the community; homes close to Withrow are the most in demand. This entire stretch of North Riverdale above Riverdale Avenue is referred to as Upper Riverdale, or Prime Riverdale.
Of course, one of the best parts of living in North Riverdale is having the vibrant and cosmopolitan Greektown around the corner. Greektown on The Danforth offers something for everyone, whether it be shopping, strolling, relaxing on a patio, or people watching.
No longer just a place to get a souvlaki fix, Greektown is now a multicultural dining destination, with its myriad of restaurants offering foods from virtually every nationality found in Toronto. Fine boutiques and purveyors of natural products and health-promoting services round out this dynamic retail landscape.
South Riverdale Homes
South Riverdale lies south of Gerrard and west of the Don Valley Parkway, extending down to Eastern Avenue. The eastern boundary is most disputed; although technically, South Riverdale is oft described as extending past Greenwood, even to as far as Coxwell Avenue, most of my Riverdale home buyers find that once you are east of Leslie, the character really changes to that of Leslieville. I could further confuse matters by bringing Little India and Riverside (formerly Queen-Broadview Village) into the discussion, and stating how Leslieville is arguably a sub-neighbourhood of South Riverdale, but this is confusing enough already.
Homes in South Riverdale are more affordable than those to the north; the Riverdale area is hence home to more working class families and young couples. South Riverdale homes are largely Victorian in style. Two and three storey gothic rowhouses and semis are common, as are gingerbread cottages, such as those found on Degrassi Street (made famous by the series of Degrassi TV shows filmed in and around Leslieville and Riverdale, though the actual school locations were in East York and West Toronto).
For those more inclined towards a condo lifestyle, the newer Broadview Lofts and Riverside Lofts feature modern urban styling, while the Carlaw Lofts offer authentic loft-living in a converted Soho-style warehouse.
Although South Riverdale is a bit of a hike from the Danforth subway, it does offer the convenience of the Broadview, Gerrard, and Queen streetcar routes. For those looking for a little shopping or nightlife, Riverside (at Queen and Broadview) is now exploding new with shops and cafes, and the downtown core is just a brief bicycle or streetcar ride away.
Riverdale Real Estate Boundaries
As mentioned, the boundaries of Riverdale and its various sub-communities are jagged and porous on all sides, thereby making them often subject to debate. Using its most generous boundaries, Riverdale stretches from as far west as the Don Valley Parkway to as far east as Coxwell, and from Eastern Avenue in the south to as far north as Mortimer Avenue.
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