Toronto Loft Conversions

Toronto Loft Conversions

I know classic brick and beam lofts! From warehouses to factories to churches, Laurin will help you find your perfect new loft.

Modern Toronto Lofts

Modern Toronto Lofts

Not just converted lofts, I can help you find the latest cool and modern space. There are tons of new urban spaces across the city.

Unique Toronto Homes

Unique Toronto Homes

More than just lofts, I can also help you find that perfect house. From the latest architectural marvel to a piece of our Victorian past, the best and most creative spaces abound.

Condos in Toronto

Condos in Toronto

I started off selling mainly condos, helping first time buyers get a foothold in the Toronto real estate market. Now working with investors and helping empty nesters find that perfect luxury suite.

Toronto Real Estate

Toronto Real Estate

For all of your Toronto real estate needs, contact Laurin. I am dedicated to helping you find that perfect and unique new home to call your own.


Subway lines have insulated well-positioned condo towers

Easy access to mass transit has proven to be a boon to high rise developers

By Derek Raymaker – The Globe and Mail

Historically, North York has been ahead of the curve when it comes to condominium high-rise development.

As far back as the 1991 recession, when condo construction came to a standstill as a madly speculative market went from overheated to stagnant, North York held its own with a steady flow of new towers, much to the delight of the city’s then mayor, Mel Lastman.

Of course, you can build all the performing arts centres and approve all the movie theatre complexes you want, but if you can’t get condo buyers to offices conveniently by 9 a.m., developers will take a pass.

For this reason, the Yonge Street subway line has proven to be recession-proof for high-rise developers, and North York has blossomed nicely as a result.

The subway has proven so powerful in transforming North York from a suburb to an economic hub of its own that Mr. Lastman, his fellow city fathers and mothers, and (surprise, surprise) developers lobbied heavily for a Sheppard Avenue spur line going east from Yonge to Don Mills Road, which opened in 2002.

The traditional weakness in the North York condominium market has not been supply or demand but selection.

Projects gravitated to Yonge Street, where land assemblers were happy to offer convenient sites to the highest bidder, but little effort was spent on going beyond an entry-level skyscraping shoebox.

Over the past five years, North York projects have faced competitive heat from emerging high-rise markets in Mississauga, Markham, Scarborough and Etobicoke.

Demand for the location still remains, thanks to the subway, but more recent projects have put more effort into building design, suite design and amenities.

But North York is also nicely situated to attract empty-nesters who’ve raised families in its well-off enclaves of Willowdale and Don Mills. Thus, exclusive and luxuriously appointed projects with a high price tag have emerged, and have attracted no shortage of buyers.

“There is a demand from the local population that are still living in single-family houses and want to stay in their community,” says Mimi Ng, marketing director for Menkes Development Ltd., which has been an active builder in North York.

“The number of projects positioned to sell to an upscale market is still relatively small,” she adds.

Most of these upscale developments are located away from the Yonge subway corridor, gravitating mostly around the intersection of Bayview and Sheppard avenues to the west.

The Sheppard corridor caters almost entirely to upscale buyers, with an average suite price of $473 a square foot reported in April, according to RealNet Canada data. That’s a jump of 20% over the average suite price in April, 2005, and 42% above the average of $333 a square foot in the Greater Toronto Area.

The flip side of the Sheppard submarket is that it is still very much a niche, with only 105 suites remaining unsold.

Projects of this nature include Daniels Corp.’s Kilgour Estates, featuring two mid-rise buildings with a townhouse component just off Bayview Avenue, south of the Sunnybrook Health Centre. Another is Baghai Development Ltd.’ St. Gabriel Village, on the site of a former church off Sheppard Avenue West. Both projects have sold exceedingly well, in spite of prices that start at $500,000 with many million-dollar-plus suites.

The Yonge corridor, stretching north from Sheppard to Finch Avenue, remains very much a traditional North York condo enclave, with an average suite price of $311 a square foot in April, 6% below the GTA average.

In fact, the Yonge submarket average price has actually decreased from a year earlier, when it was $315 a square foot. And with 1,006 out of 4,644 active launched suites marked unsold in April, it is ranked second in the GTA for unsold inventory, a key indicator of a soft market.

The biggest obstacle to higher-end projects is finding the right location where a higher density development will be allowed, considering that buyers will demand a more quiet and spacious location compared with the bustle of Yonge Street.

“The challenge is finding the right site in North York to establish a bit of an enclave off the main street,” Ms. Ng says.

That’s not an issue for the entry-level high-rise where the majority of the suites are under 1,000 square feet.

In fact, Menkes is launching a new 400-suite project this weekend called Luxe at the corner of Yonge and Finch.

About 1,800 people preregistered to have a first look at the project, according to Ms. Ng, which will feature suites starting at $169,990 and going to $302,990.

It’s a traditional subway-oriented project, she says, which is still very much in demand.


Contact Laurin Jeffrey for more information

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