The Death of the Condo?


Condo Sales are in Decline

 According to a recent study by Zoocasa, the median price of a Condo in Toronto fell by $65,000 since the start of the pandemic, around February, 2020, while the total volume of sales dropped a whopping 64 percent.

The decline is not limited to the condo market, but rentals too.

According to PadBlogger’s recent report, one-bedroom rentals in Toronto dropped by 2.2 per cent, while two-bedroom units went down by over 4 per cent, month-over-month.

For Toronto, this is unprecedented.

For renters, this is welcome news. (Assuming of course, you still have a job).

So what’s going on?

Taking a look at real estate prices just outside the city limits gives us an idea.

The Exodus

Cities outside the Greater Toronto Area, such as Windsor and Hamilton, are actually reporting increases in rent prices, at 4.6 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

These statistics are indicative of a huge demographic shift, of many city-dwellers choosing to forgo the conveniences of urban life in order to find cheaper, more spacious dwellings, and a slower pace of life. Many who have been laid off during the lock-down have started side gigs, and as a result, many more websites are coming online each day as these passion projects blossom into small businesses.

Since the start of the pandemic, Canadians have been forced to turn their homes into offices, schools, and daycare centres.

And suddenly, it dawned on us exactly how small 700 square feet can be.

Rather than commuting to the office, we discovered that we can do our work from…well, anywhere.

Additionally, many of the perks that come with living in the city are now either fraught with risk, or completely shut down. Think of restaurants, live events, street festivals, the CNE.

Starved for green space and fresh air, city-dwellers began what can only be described as a mass migration to areas outside the Golden Horseshoe, such as Barrie, Collingwood, and Peterborough.

In a Global News report by Daina Goldfinger, Max Hahne, partner at Engel and Volkers, said that: “Collingwood is becoming very, very popular now… (Clients) tell us it’s because they want to have some space around them, and they’re blaming it on the pandemic.”

Market Changes Ahead

So how are condo developers adapting to this changed environment?

31 Condominiums, one of the latest projects from Lanterra Developments, has been designed with the current demographic shift in mind.

Foremost, that concept is brought to life by means of the spacious amenities and common areas the building has on offer.

The Work Lounge is an open space with Wifi and tables meant for people to collaborate together, and offers an ideal place to work remotely.

Offering ample green space, the 5th floor roof garden is a place for residents to unwind and enjoy some fresh air without having to leave the building.

The suites, too, offer a compelling choice to telecommuters, with many suites, such as the Aviation series, yielding over 900 square feet of living space, and a separate study.

Developers who are keenly aware of the demands of the post-pandemic workforce will be better positioned to attract new condo buyers, and continue Toronto’s storied growth.

So are condos on a decline?

This writer doesn’t think so.

But developers will increasingly need to be aware of the demographic shifts taking place in the marketplace. Those that do will thrive in the post-pandemic economy.