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Toronto Condo Market in Focus
Santa, can you bring me a condo?
by Suzanne Wintrob
It’s supposed to be the season of giving, not taking－but it looks like some folks didn’t get the memo.
In recent weeks, two major Canadian banks raised their mortgage rates and the City of Toronto started talking about harmonizing its land transfer tax with higher provincial land transfer tax rates. The industry reacted swiftly to the City’s announcement, with the Toronto Real Estate Board calling the proposed changes a “cash grab” that will not only increase costs for all Toronto home buyers but will impact first-time purchasers the most.
With the average cost of a detached house in Toronto now more than $1 million and condos averaging almost $600 per square foot － and Vancouver prices even higher －it’s not surprising that Canadians hoping to buy their first house or condo are feeling disillusioned.
Take my son, for instance. At 27, he’s eager to ditch his childhood bedroom in a Toronto suburb for a one-bedroom-plus-den downtown, letting him walk to work or to hang out with friends.
He’s been talking about it for three years, ever since he landed his very first full-time job at a software company. But he isn’t interested in renting like his other millennial co-workers. Rather, he’d like to own something so he can invest in his future. But with prices what they are, it ain’t easy.
“My biggest concern is that the prices are outrageous, making this probably the largest and most important financial decision of my life so far,” he told me the other day. “But what scares me more is that I'm not at all experienced with buying property so I may not ask all the right questions before making my purchase. There isn't a 60-day money-back guarantee, and any oversight I may make will result in a net loss to my already tight budget.”
My son realizes he’s fortunate to be living at home so he can keep saving his hard-earned cash. But others aren’t as lucky, especially those with families or those who are new to Canada. We’ve been hearing about a housing bubble for years yet prices keep soaring. What’s a first-timer to do?
In this column, we’ll examine Toronto’s intense condo market－the players, the projects, the trends and more. I welcome your comments, questions and story ideas so please contact me through my website!
Blog post written by Suzanne Wintrob
Suzanne Wintrob is a Toronto-based journalist specializing in real estate and business. Check her out at www.wintrob.com.
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