Condo Living Trends

Toronto Real Estate News
Condos by michael swan
Condos by Michael Swan

Over the past several decades, condominiums have evolved, and so has the profile of a typical condo buyer. It has become more difficult to identify who an average condo buyer is and who they might be in the future. Condos in various cities attract various buyers — from seniors to single families. What are the new trends in the growing condo market?

The Birth of a Condo

When condos first started to surface, in the late ’70s and early ’80s, they immediately became a great option for the elderly. This specific group preferred condo living for several reasons. Seniors often don’t need a big house and an adjacent garden anymore. Their kids have grown up, and they themselves just use one or two rooms. In condos, small apartments were offered with no stairs or other obstacles. Condos became the perfect option for people with mobility issues not yet ready for an assisted living environment.

Seniors were not the only ones to prefer the condo lifestyle. Young professionals and recent graduates couldn’t afford buying a house, and their priorities lied elsewhere. Condos represented an ingenius solution for them too.

These motivations remain valid today, and so these groups continue to constitute a large portion of condo purchasers.

Condo Living Evolution

West Looking at Adelaide by Dan Dickinson
West Looking at Adelaide by Dan Dickinson

As more condos were built, other types of buyers were attracted to their simplified, urban lifestyle. One of the most significant groups that still represents a large portion of the condo sector is first-time buyers. While it was natural for younger urban professionals to feel the attraction towards high-rise downtown living, it is a rather recent phenomenon that had first-time buyers considering all types of condos in all parts of the country.

First of all, prices for basically any property are sky-high, and they are still rising. A condo as a small apartment was relatively cheap, and a young couple or newlyweds could comfortably live there until they decided to start a family. Moreover, by living in a city centre, they didn’t need to care about commuting to and from work, and they could spend their time enjoying what the city had to offer. The busy lifestyle and the demand of a career are in favour of condos rather than house ownership.

Recently divorced or separated couples also found their new home in condos. The financial expenses that arise from divorce force one or both spouses to consider a condo purchase. It is a logical move — whether the stay in a condo is interim or permanent.

It didn’t take long for investors to notice a great opportunity in condo investing. In many markets in Canada, local and foreign investors alike found that condo ownership was a source of good returns as rental units, or else promised large capital gains.

Recently, condos became interesting to other non-traditional condo buyers. Ann Bosley, vice president and general manager of Bosley Real Estate in Toronto, says that her company is seeing a move up in buyers within the condo market. Whereas in the past a younger person or couple would use their condo purchase as an entry into the market and then move up to a single-family or semi-detached home when finances or circumstances either allowed or dictated, now Bosley sees many of these buyers simply moving from an entry-level condo to a second, larger condo. She cites the Liberty Village neighbourhood as a good example of where this is happening frequently. In this location, it is common to find a move-up buyer going from a smaller apartment condo into either a larger apartment or a townhouse-style condo. This is happening mostly in the city centre, where advantages of living in a condo are are very hard to leave. First-time condo sellers are becoming second-time condo buyers, and this historic moment marks the beginning of a new era in condo living.

Condo Living as We Know It Today

So far, condos haven’t been popular among families. They rather have served as a temporary option. Units were mostly small, and a family wouldn’t have the same comfort in a condo as it could have in a townhouse. But together with the times, our habits are changing. Developers have quickly reacted, and a new type of condo is about to come to the light.

Name is one of the last things connecting old-style condos with the condos of today. Developers and architects are coming up with new ways to make our daily lives easier and more comfortable. The condos listed in my portfolio are situated in buildings with the best amenities and services in Toronto. What are the most desired features clients look for when buying a condo?

I Have Always Wanted a House With a View

Condo View by Dan Dickinson
Condo View by Dan Dickinson

Old condominium architecture concentrated on delivering affordable and approachable housing. Today, developers are creating new, spacious condos with breathtaking views of open spaces. Living in an urban centre has never felt this good. Looking down at rushing streets and traffic jams from above creates an impression of living in the sky. Condos often have high ceilings and huge ceiling-to-floor windows. Rooftop gardens or private gardens add great value to living, as nothing feels better than having your own private oasis.

You would love:
25 Capreol Crt Ph3 #Ph3 — Central Toronto with a barbecue area, outdoor pool, party room, guest room, and concierge
25 Telegram Mews 3807 #3807 — Central Toronto with the most breathtaking views of Toronto, a rooftop garden, and an indoor pool

I Have Always Wanted an Organic Garden

Some condo buyers’ motivation behind moving into a condo is their desire to decrease their ecological footprint. Setting up an indoor or an outdoor garden in your condo has been very popular recently. If you have always wished to have your own small garden condo, gardening is possible in just about any arrangement. Growing your vegetables and herbs indoors near a window is a good option if your condo doesn’t come with a balcony or patio. You simply choose indoor plants that require less sunlight and that are good at converting carbon dioxide into oxygen. A proper selection of indoor plants can vastly improve the air quality of the condo, and many plants used on orbiting space stations have this quality of purifying the air.

If you, on the other hand, have an opportunity to set up your garden on a balcony or patio, you can soon enjoy fresh vegetables, fruits, and herbs throughout the year. Many people are surprised that it only takes single barrel placed on a balcony or patio to grow large quantities of potatoes without taking up much space.

Another option for gardening is vertical gardens. Vertical gardening is hugely popular around the world for the little space it takes to grow your own plants. One popular type of vertical gardening is hydroponic planting, in which the garden uses little or no soil. Instead, the plants grow in a nutrient-rich water medium. Another considerable advantage of having a private small garden is that you don’t need to worry about pests — therefore you need no pesticides and the food you grow is truly organic.

You would love:
16 Rosedale Rd 713 #713 — Central Toronto with a big balcony, outdoor pool, and gym
1171 Queen St W 1405 #1405 — Central Toronto with a rooftop garden, big balcony, gym, and party room

I Have Always Wanted a Pool, a Private Gym, and a Yoga Studio

Welcome to my new condo by Sam Xu
Welcome to my new condo by Sam Xu

One of the basic principles of condos is shared value. Each and every one of us wants a bit of luxury in our lives. Owning a pool, private cinema, or gym would be splendid but quite impossible given the cost it takes to set up and then maintain these luxuries. But n condo developments you can enjoy any of these features for a very low price. New condo amenities include yoga studios, steam and massage rooms, cinemas, party rooms, and conference room. You can save space in your own apartment by using amenities available to all condo owners.

You would love:
35 Hayden St 1608 #1608 — Central Toronto with an indoor pool, gym, and recreation room
1 St Thomas St 22B #22B — Central Toronto with an indoor pool, exercise room, and gym

Choosing the right condo is a very exciting but difficult job. Most buyers look for gym facilities, 24-hour security with a concierge, and visitor parking. Parking in urban areas is hard to find and costly when available, so prospective condo owners like seeing more parking spots for guests and visitors.

Condominiums went through a huge change, and so did we. Our habits are so different from what they used to be fifty years ago, and therefore we demand things we didn’t even think were possible back then. I’m very curious about where these trends are heading and what new approach to living we might discover in the coming decade.

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