Welcome to my blog on housing, culture, and design in Toronto, where I share my insights, ideas, and my points of view on the many facets of the Toronto Real Estate Market!
After the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown we experienced in Canada – starting March 13th, 2020 – our everyday lives changed significantly and in a myriad of ways. We learned new lessons of engagement, adapted our behaviours, and shifted our attitudes. Our time in quarantine invited many of us to reexamine the direction we were headed, and for others, it prompted a realignment of the way we perceive our place in the world and how we navigate that world.
On the domestic side of things, the changes were almost immediate. Working from home (Dear Urbaneer: How Do I Solve My Work From Home Dilemma During The COVID-19 Pandemic?) became the new normal, and once it was proved that employees could be just as – if not more – productive at home, the set-up stuck. We began to see desired changes in home design (Post-Pandemic Housing Trends To Watch For), and a renewed interest in interior decorating and home renovating as a result of all the time we were spending there (Urbaneer’s In The Globe & Mail On Domestic Space Issues During The COVID-19 Pandemic).
Even ‘big picture’ urban planning was on the tip of pundits’ tongues, as folks wondered how we might prevent future outbreaks of this scale, and keep ourselves safer were it to happen again (How Lessons Learned From COVID-19 Will Change Urban Planning & High-Density Living). Some people’s reaction to the changing times? Get out of the city altogether: Going East: A Toronto Real Estate Exodus To Atlantic Canada.
But one of the most immediate, quantifiable changes in the real estate world – and lessons learned – was how much we as humans need outdoor space. Escaping our four walls and, if possible, communing with green things under a big blue sky was proven to be essential to our sanity – quite literally. The effects of that rock of truth thrown into the pond of our collective awareness rippled outwards until everyone felt it. We, as relators, saw an immediate change in the rankings of homebuyers’ wish lists; outdoor space and proximity to green space both rose to hover nearer the top.
A freehold property without any yard space? No, thank you! A condo with only a Juliet balcony? Nope, we’ll pass.
Now, homebuyers are gravitating to smaller boutique buildings with fewer units, suites that are closer to ground level (with treetop views) and that have large balconies or terraces, freehold properties with yards or patio space, and locations which have less density. So, for those gearing up on their homebuying journey, be cognizant of the pending value-added benefits of these features in our new realities.
*Remember to check out our three properties for sale at the bottom of this post – each unique, but all with great outdoor space!*
The Increasing Demand For Outdoor Space
Many Torontonians have always longed to have personal outdoor space. As the population has increased and family-friendly shelter has grown scarce, it’s fueled the freehold property values to new precedents. As a result, condominium living has become more prevalent – in large part because it’s a more affordable and accessible form of homeownership. A few years ago, The Globe and Mail published the piece “The Rise of the Balcony” which discussed how developers are responding to a growing demand for balconies and outdoor space on high-rise buildings, particularly in Toronto. It explored how balconies and terraces – while offering the chance to take in impressive views – are not for everyone (read: fear of heights & strong winds). It also talks about how architects and developers, more and more, are working to incorporate balconies as part of the exterior aesthetic to create a cohesive design.
As a realtor who works in both the freehold and condominium markets in the original City of Toronto, I’m convinced that most Buyers attribute more value to outdoor space now (those who fear heights, aside) – if only to step out and confirm what the temperature is like before they choose their wardrobe. For some urbanites, the outdoor space connected to their suite may not have been used with great frequency when one could use a larger communal terrace with barbecues and/or a swimming pool. However, post-pandemic when common amenities were closed – and potentially of higher risk when open – there’s now an increased focus on units with balconies or, better yet, terraces. So now – balconies = bliss!
Outdoor Space For Buyers And Sellers
Let’s address for a minute how outdoor space is a lure for a buyer and ergo an opportunity to garner top dollar for a seller. There is both a dollar and a mental value to this feature. It’s nearly impossible to attach a specific value to outdoor space but back in 2017, I found two sales in the same condo one floor apart sharing the same view but one had a terrace while the other had a small balcony. It’s an interesting read in How To Assess The Value Of Outdoor Living Space. However, the value of outdoor space can be a moving target, so I think there’s more merit in addressing its intangible value.
I’ve written in the past about the psychological need that real estate fulfils, in Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs And Toronto Real Estate For Sellers and Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs And Toronto Real Estate For Buyers. From both points of view, you can certainly understand how the presence of outdoor space plays a role. For the Buyer, whether it is access to the light and the air (many people are impacted mentally and emotionally with lack of sunlight) or the more pragmatic wish of being able to unwind and entertain outdoors or if it is increased perception of space for the money, outdoor space is a factor in the purchase decision. Additionally, for a Buyer looking ahead to re-sale of their current purchase, a sublime outdoor space may not only help them garner top dollar but also help them stand out from the competition. For Sellers, they need to understand the psychological draw of the outdoor space in the buying process in order to tap into that Buyer desire. For Sellers, this works out to presenting their outdoor space to fulfil the Buyer’s psychological needs.
Elements That Determine The Dollar Value Of Outdoor Space
Just as the price per square foot of interior space can vary widely in a condominium – depending on the complex’s reputation, the property’s location and features, as well as its finishes, upgrades, and size – so too can the value of outdoor space range, depending on its square footage, views, and whether it has gas or water lines. The greater the capacity to create an ‘outdoor room’ the higher its potential value. After all, it’s one thing to step out on a sliver of an outdoor perch where you’re greeted with high winds and vertigo, and quite another if you can lay down on a chaise with a glass of wine while a partner grills fresh vegetables grown in your outdoor containers!
Remember, much of the intangible value of outdoor space rests on the opportunity that it affords. On a more practical note, it is how the features, size, and finishes of outdoor space work together to add dimension to a living space that drives the dollar amount. Check out that view above!!
A Final Word On Outdoor Space
The price tag put on owning personal outdoor space will be unique to each Buyer. It’s as much psychological and tangible, depending on how you land on the outdoor spectrum. By having the choice to walk out onto your own personal balcony or terrace, the simple option to access outdoors – even if you never use it – has its own premium. For many, it’s worth everything, and to some, it’s minimal at best. You only have to look at a high-rise to see that many urbanites don’t value their outdoor space, given they lack limited personal investment in creating additional usable seasonal living space.
Most Torontonians crave light and fresh air, especially when our harsh winters limit our exposure to the natural elements for as long as six months a year. So if you have outdoor space – whether that be a balcony or a backyard – know that you have a sought-after commodity that will serve you well when it comes time to sell. And be assured you don’t have to have a large space to make an impact and a refuge; investing in presenting your outdoor space in its highest and best lifestyle use assures you will get the most out of the space!
Attention: all lovers of the outdoors – and of outdoor space!!
But not everyone is a lover lawn maintenance and time spent grass cutting! But check out this beautifully hardscaped private patio!
Primely situated in the New Urbanism development of St. Clair West Village, we call it: Sizzle & Spice In The Junction’s St. Clair West Village Enclave
It’s a semi-detached, 2-storey, 3+1bed dwelling with a finished lower level that offers just under 1800 square feet of intelligently designed family-functional living space, in addition to a sunny, fully-fenced low-maintenance garden! Boasting a host of upgrades and improvements, and inclusive of 2-car parking (1 surface space via laneway + 1-car detached garage!), this hot commodity is NOW SOLD!
If you’re a lover of village vibes and the pedestrian lifestyle, Leslieveille is probably your jam.
Check out our brand new listing with an awesome hardscaped rear yard! It’s a great place to gather friends for drinks after work, host a Saturday barbecue, or enjoy a glass of wine with a sweetheart under the stars!
We call it: Living Well & In Wonder In Leslieville. Now SOLD!
Questions? Interested in a private viewing? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
One of our favourite east side strolls is the quiet, tree-lined streets of restorative Riverdale!
Allow us to introduce this mid-century modern semi-detached swell dwell that we call: A Smash Hit Trophy In The Making On Tennis Crescent In Riverdale, offered at $1,629,000!
Well-situated, well-proportioned, and welcoming, this family-friendly residence is an ideal opportunity for those seeking customizable space (and a lot of it!) in a superb coveted neighbourhood. Check it out!
Contact Steven Fudge – email@example.com – with any questions, or to chat about this stellar opportunity to tailor a property to suit your needs!
After considering the above, do you feel your heart fluttering for more freedom? More blue sky and fresh air? Perhaps you’re looking ahead to the resale value of your property and how you might secure more future value with a home with outdoor space.
Well, take a look at this penthouse at 2511 Bloor Street West we just Sold! It has an oversized terrace that will make you swoon! It’s an entertainer’s dream, and significantly increases your indoor/outdoor living space!!
This rare-to-market boutique penthouse is situated in beautiful Swansea! Housed in a boutique building dubbed The Brulé, this spacious, sun-kissed offering boasts 2 large bedrooms, 2 washrooms, and 2 parking spaces. Oh, and we’re not done! Enjoy an oversized terrace, with two separate entertaining areas overlooking the treetops surrounding the Humber River. Imagine a magical outdoor space to start a quiet morning or to dine al-fresco under the stars!
Here’s a townhouse listing with a spacious roof terrace that we love! Tucked into Toronto’s lakeside Swansea neighbourhood, which boasts a plethora of urban recreational amenities, this terrific townhouse is best-suited to those looking to embrace the urban village life, all within steps to resplendent High Park and Lake Ontario! Having two bedrooms, and 2 baths – and an impressive 971 square feet of intelligently designed space – this family dwelling is NOW SOLD! Here’s the link –> A Townhouse With Roof Terrace On The Queensway
Don’t worry, we have two more stellar offerings which boast excellent outdoor space:
This fresh-to-market cool and contemporary condo boasts 3 beds, 3 baths and over 1,800 square feet of sublime indoor/outdoor space spread over 2 storeys! Offered for sale at $1,469,000!
We love the large sun-soaked terrace that’s the perfect perch for family BBQs and midnight star-gazing soirees! Planters and screens that flank the terrace provide just enough privacy without severing the connection to the city around you. The vistas of neighbouring gardens and mature treescapes are quiet calming – particularly amid the bustle of downtown!
Ideal for the high-styled urban buyer, picture-perfect penthouse isn’t the kind of offering that comes to market regularly! his 1 bed, 1.5 bath, 2storey urban oasis is NOW SOLD!
Our favourite feature of this penthouse is the dramatic 650-square-foot, wrap-around terrace! Spacious and sun-drenched, this outdoor space was finished with wood decking in 2017 and is a dream come true for any urban dweller that adores the city lights! Can you imagine sunning yourself with a morning coffee or throwing starlit soirees? *Swoon* The terrace is well-appointed with planter boxes, a BBQ gas line, a water line, several artificial boxwoods, and outdoor lighting accessed with the click of a remote!
Did you enjoy this? Here are many of my blogs written during the pandemic about the intersection of COVID-19 and the Toronto Real Estate Market:
Want to have someone on your side?
Since 1989, I’ve steered my career through a real estate market crash and burn; survived a slow painful cross-country recession; completed an M.E.S. graduate degree from York University called ‘Planning Housing Environments’; executed the concept, sales & marketing of multiple new condo and vintage loft conversions; and guided hundreds of clients through the purchase and sale of hundreds of freehold and condominium dwellings across the original City of Toronto. From a gritty port industrial city into a glittering post-industrial global centre, I’ve navigated the ebbs and flows of a property market as a consistent Top Producer. And I remain as passionate about it today as when I started.
Consider contacting me at 416-845-9905 or email me at Steve@urbaneer.com. It would be my pleasure to assist you, and yours.
Serving first-time Buyers, upsizers and downsizers, and people building their long-term property portfolios, our mandate is to help clients choose the property which will realize the highest future return on their investment while ensuring the property best serves their practical needs and their dream of “Home” during their ownership.
Are you considering selling? We welcome providing you with a comprehensive assessment free of charge, including determining your Buyer profile, ways to optimize your return on investment, and tailoring the listing process to suit your circumstance. Check out How Urbaneer’s Custom Marketing Program Sold This Authentic Broadview Loft In Riverside to learn more about what we do!
Consider letting Urbaneer guide you through your Buying or Selling process, without pressure, or hassle.
We are here to help!
Thanks for reading!
-The Urbaneer Team
Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage – (416) 322-800
– we’re here to earn your trust, then your business –
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*Love Canadian Housing? Check out Steve’s University Student Mentorship site called Canadian Real Estate, Housing & Home which focuses on architecture, landscape, design, products, and real estate in Canada!