Torstar News Service
The good news is January is behind us. The most depressing month, as it’s known to be, has passed and that means spring is one step closer. The bad news? If you’ve already had enough of the cold and the snow, no matter how much closer spring is, it still probably seems too far away. There is at least one thing to be thankful for so early in 2008, and that is our continuingly comfortable real estate market.
With 5,075 real estate transactions occurring in January 2008, the first month comes in at just 2 per cent lower than January 2007’s record month. Such a decline should have been, and was, expected given that records aren’t meant to be broken year after year, not to mention the fact the new LTT has officially taken effect. The encouraging fact, however, for those concerned about their real estate prospects for 2008 is with an average sale price of $374,449, this January checked in at a higher average price than half of 2007. In a nutshell, 2008 has started off encouragingly.
The main concern seems to lie in the condo market — the part most responsible for our market’s high numbers and most negatively impacted by the new tax. Here’s an insight on this concern. It’s no secret that in the vast majority of cases, new developments are priced above their resale counterparts. So the concern is, will the existing buildings ever catch up to those newer buildings or will we see a serious price difference — will older buildings be subject to consistently low prices? Will they significantly drop off in price because they’ll become outdated? Or can an old building ever surpass its newer counterpart? The answer lies in recognizing what drives condo prices or, in other words, what sets condos apart. When my friends and clients come to me looking to purchase a condo, I want them to first understand not every building is created equal.
If you could take all the condos in Toronto, a few would stand out as the cream of the crop. These are the condos that will continue to retain their value best, continue to appreciate admirably, and continue to be amongst the safest condo investments, irregardless of how new or old they are. This, of course, assumes the old condos with something special to offer are maintained and managed effectively. Condos with an ever-unobstructed lake view, for example, fall into this category. No matter how many condos are crammed into our city, you can only build so many that will forever have a clear view of the lake. This something special is what sets certain condos apart from the rest. Another example is the Yonge and Front location. This is as central as central can be, and only a handful of condos can exist at this corner. The brand name appeal is another example, like SOHO.
Aside from separating the actual buildings and recognizing which ones stand above the rest, it’s important to understand what your goals are and how that might alter your view on what various buildings have to offer. To put it into perspective, you might look at choosing the right building as similar to choosing the right partner. Much will depend on what your intentions are.
At the end of the day, while there are rules and ways to determine which condos stand apart from the crowd, the best condo for you will depend on your situation. I am always happy to help you assess your personal situation and help you find the right fit.