Later this month, the Boston Bruins will have second pick in the NHL entry draft, which has absolutely nothing to do with condos except for the fact that whoever is drafted with the pick Toronto traded for Phil Kessel will face much higher housing costs in Boston than whomever gets drafted by the Maple Leafs.

 

Having just returned from a high-rise housing study tour of the Boston market, my top three takeaways are: It’s a beautiful city, particularly the public spaces; the industry folks there are tremendously hospitable; and, it’s very, very pricey.

 

What surprised me about the Boston condo market is that compared with Toronto’s, it’s very small. Of course every condo market looks small by comparison, but at less than 3,000 units (including rentals) in a good year and only about half that currently, it’s not even a tenth the size of ours.

 

Still, the BILD members that travelled there were warmly welcomed at six different condo buildings and toured dozens of model suites, including an incomparable collection of seven models at the W-Residences called Inspired Concepts by DVC (Designers, Vendors and Contractors).


Despite the low levels of high-rise construction, or perhaps because of it, condos are very, very expensive in Boston on a cost per square foot basis. Combined with the fact that the average suite size in Boston is far larger than here, you would think you were buying the penthouse if all you knew was the price tag. Thankfully, we live in a very well supplied and fiercely competitive housing market, which has resulted in reasonably affordable housing.


The great thing about this and other housing study tours conducted by BILD is that we get an overview perspective from their local experts (with thanks to the folks from CB Richard Ellis and ADD Inc. Architecture) plus the opportunity to see different building and suite designs, not to mention features and finishes.


In Boston, we visited everything from a LEED-Gold certified building to an eighteenth century warehouse conversion/addition to luxury condos to the sleek and chic W-Residences. No doubt, some of the ideas our builders and designers gleaned from the tour will show up in pending projects here in Toronto, thankfully at our prices.


– Stephen Dupuis is president and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD). He can be reached at president@bildgta.ca.