One of the new luxury market trends is small infill developments in up and coming neighbourhoods. The Alders in Etobicoke with homes starting from $1.4 million is one example.
Despite the drop in home sales in many parts of Canada in recent months, there’s little to fear about the housing market, say some experts.
According to the latest Re/Max forecast, 454,000 homes in the country will change hands this year, just 1 per cent less than in 2011. Prices are predicted to rise by 1 per cent in 2013.
A modest price gain can be expected in the Greater Toronto Area as well, says Jason Mercer, the Toronto Real Estate Board’s senior manager of market analysis. “Barring a major change to the consensus economic outlook, home price growth is expected to continue through 2013.”
The luxury property market thrived in the Greater Toronto Area for the first half of the year with little signs of slowdown, according to Canada's Top-Tier Real Estate Report by Sotheby’s International Realty. The bi-annual study highlights market trends for residential properties valued at $1 million-plus, based on MLS data.
In the first half of 2012, 3,113 million-dollar-plus properties sold in the GTA, compared to 2,405 in the first half of 2011. There was a 29 per cent increase in listings over $1 million.
“What is interesting about luxury condo market is that it’s now a proven market in Toronto,” says Barbara Lawlor, president of Baker Real Estate. “Four years ago, you would have had to buy a penthouse on top floor of an ordinary building, but we now have five-star hotel brands and several luxury boutique buildings.
“The who’s who of Toronto have bought it into it (condos) as way of life because and that’s been a game changer,” says Ms. Lawlor. “There wasn’t anything for them to buy into before. Now they can buy large, spacious gracious suites in exclusive buildings.”
Ms. Lawlor says investors are now buying larger suites in part because they view Toronto as a stable place to put their money.
“Real estate is a solid investment,” she notes. “For years, investors in Toronto were buying small product. They are now buying large. There are renters out there such as corporate renters and people who don’t want to buy at this time but still want a luxurious lifestyle.”
She says despite the slowdown, “we are still having a real strong year and change is good, a new normal is good. There isn’t the frenzy there was and that’s good too … and prices have not dropped, they’ve increased.”
Price growth will be strongest in the GTA for lowrise homes, including single-detached, semi-detached houses and townhomes, according to TREB’s Mercer. Developers are tapping into the luxury lowrise market with infill developments in up-and-coming areas in the city and in the 905.
One is Great Gulf Homes’ The Alders, a collection of 23 homes on a cul-de-sac in Etobicoke priced from $1.4 million on 46-foot lots. The infill site is close to a wealth of amenities.
Alison O’Neill, senior manager of sales and marketing for Great Gulf Homes, says her company noted the trend of people buying smaller bungalows to teardown or extensively renovate in the area. She says The Alders presents an opportunity to live in a brand-new home with desired features such as 10-foot ceilings, master ensuites and walk-in closet without the hassles of rebuilding or renovating.