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Toronto condos and the power of location, location

Downtown condos aren't king in Toronto.

When people talk about the condo boom in the country's most populous city, they naturally reference the southern core, where cranes and hoarding are ubiquitous.

But, given that much of the fear of policy-makers and economists is that people will take on excessive mortgages and get in over their heads, it might be wiser to gaze northward.

Data on the price of condos that are being newly constructed (as opposed to resales) from BuzzBuzzHome show that units in North Toronto are selling for more than those in the core.

"We found surprising how North Toronto was more expensive than the downtown areas," said Matthew Slutsky, president of BuzzBuzzHome. "Considering these are only new condos – not town homes or single-detached houses – this is unexpected."

Both Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney pointed to Toronto's condo market as a source of concern last year. While sales have fallen significantly since then, prices have largely held up, although brokers who specialize in the market say that developers are now offering more incentives to lure buyers into their units.

In its monetary policy report this month the central bank said that "valuations in some segments of the [Canadian] housing market remain stretched," and there are still signs of overbuilding in multiple-unit dwellings.

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