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Where is the Toronto Condo Market Heading?

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I attended a very informative and interesting seminar last night at the Market Wharf sales office. The event was put on by Context (the developer behind Market Wharf, Spire, Radio City) and was billed as a ‘Buying a Condo Seminar’. It was open to anyone who is on Context’s marketing email list. Normally I avoid events like these like the plague because they are blatant bait-and-switch sales events designed to lure uneducated consumers into buying a condo at a development they know nothing about. However, this one offered something different and I’m glad I attended.

The questions that the speakers attempted to answer were the questions that I am asked every day by my clients and people I meet through this website:

  • What is happening in the condo market?
  • Where is the best location to buy?
  • Is a condo a good investment?
  • Will the condo market crash?

The speakers at the event included the president of Context, a mortgage manager from Scotia Bank, the president of Baker Real Estate (a well-known brokerage for new condo sales in Toronto), a representative from CMHC, and Jane Renwick- Executive VP of Urbanation.

The room was totally packed out and all eyes and ears were on Jane Renwick who spoke last.  Why? Sure, Jan is a good looking gal, but the main reason was because Jane has something that every condo investor, real estate agent, and developer in the city would just about kill to get their hands on – sales data for new condos. You see, there is no MLS-type system for new homes and condos.  No one really knows how many condos are selling, where they are selling, and for how much they are selling…except Urbanation.

Urbanation tracks this data exclusively and sells reports to the devlopment and real estate industry. People pay big bucks to get their hands on this data and rightfully so.

Jane revealed a few slides of this precious data to the crowd and it was illuminating, however, probably not what everyone wanted to see because the data only included the first 2 quarters of 2008. Everyone wanted to know what is happening now, as we are in the middle of a global financial crisis (for the media tells us so).

The basic conclusion was this: after a stunning, record-breaking year in 2007, we are returning to ‘normality’. New condo sales in 2007 were about 22,000. The forecast for this year is that we will probably do more like 16,000 in the GTA – more in line with 2005-2006 numbers. Prices increased at 6.8% in 2008 so far over the same time period in 2007.  According to Jane – a sustainable growth rate moving forward and good news for condo buyers.  Average price per square foot for a new condo in Toronto is about $461. The West-downtown still dominates in terms of number of sales and price per square foot, but the downtown east corridor is gaining speed and represents good long-term investment potential.

If you want to chat about the condo market in Toronto, I’m always up for it. Leave me a comment or drop me an email.