Stylish Two-Bedroom Condos Are In Demand, But Hard To Find In Downtown Toronto

Real Estate

 

Welcome to my blog on housing, culture, and design! I’m Steve Fudge and I’m celebrating my 34th year as a realtor and property consultant in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The process of choosing a property and its location is complex. First, we define our practical needs such as the number of rooms required for sleeping, living, and working. Second, we determine what location and style best reflects our social values and affiliation with the community. Third, we define our budget and evaluate how realistic we can tend to our needs and wants – including location, condition and size – with our finances.

During this evaluation, we discover that our housing choice reflects our age, status, identity, and family size. From urban edge to bucolic suburbs, some neighbourhoods are geared to celebrate urban cultural amenities, others to raising children. Whatever your particular case, research on housing and identity indicates that owning a home, as part of the Canadian Dream, is seen as a sign of financial and personal success, as well as reflecting one as “biographically on schedule”.

In the not-so-distant past, the collective happy-ever-after rite-of-passage was to buy a detached house with a 2-car garage and a fenced landscaped garden.  However, due to the rising cost of living, and our prohibitively high (and climbing!) shelter costs (here’s a February 29th, 2024 article from CP24 –> “Toronto Home Prices Up 42 Percent Over Last Five Years, Cost Of Living Up 17 Percent: Report“) an article in The Green Line by Aloysius Wong titled “Less Than 1 In 6 Torontonians Can Afford To Buy A Home In The City. What About The Rest Of Us?” wrote that “for the overwhelming majority of Torontonians — that’s nearly 85 percent or almost 5.5 million people across the Greater Toronto Area — owning a home in the city remains perpetually out of reach, whether that’s a condo or house.”

For the few with the financial means to get onto the property ladder, the demand for single-family freehold homes has pushed the acquisition prices beyond the budgets of many. Still, others who would consider purchasing newly constructed single-family dwellings find most new homes have a lot of unnecessary space, including more washrooms than bedrooms, fully finished lower levels that effectively double the living space despite the Buyer’s preference to leave it unfinished, and new dwellings where the space plans include both formal living and dining rooms as well as an enormous Great Room that wraps around the open-plan kitchen.

Did you know Canada ranks third globally in having the most square footage of living space per person, trailing Australia in first spot, followed by the United States. The United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Mexico round out the top seven.

As I wrote in my post called Dear Urbaneer: How Can Minimalism Help With Affordability & Sustainability In Housing?, according to this study, the average square footage of a new dwelling in Canada is 1700 sq. ft., while the average household size is 2.51 people, and has been steadily declining for years. So our appetite for large houses has grown, but our incomes have not matched the rate of growth. Similarly, the availability of land becomes scarcer, particularly in urban centres, as demand vastly outpaces supply, creating affordability challenges.

Furthermore, a lot more people are discovering the healthy benefits of urban living, including the convenience that accompanies a high walk score, bike score, and transit score; the increased opportunities to engage others and try new things, and the proximity to health care, entertainment, and cultural experiences. These location features mean that the more modest-sized condominium unit is becoming highly desirable for a growing segment.

Once the domain of retirees and young professionals, condominiums are now home base across demographics, particularly in urban centres. Ten years ago it was quite shocking for many grandparents to discover their adult children who were becoming parents were opting to purchase 2 or 3 bed condominiums in the downtown core to raise their kids rather than face the hardship of a twice daily commute to the suburbs that would result in spending less time with their children. By 2015, even I was asked at Dear Urbaneer “Should We Raise Our Kid In A Condo?” and in 2019 we were promoting “Twenty Reasons Your Kid Will Love Living In A Condo“.

But that doesn’t mean homebuyers are over-compromising; they’re still seeking a “house-like” experience with a condo, a location in their preferred neighbourhood, and proximity to their favourite amenities.

 

 

“House-like” means not just more indoor space, but having excellent outdoor space – either as part of the unit, as a shared common area, or both; it’s a big ticket wish list item for most of the buyers we work with. Here’s our popular blog, entitled, Dear Urbaneer: What Is The Value Of A Condominium Balcony Or Terrace?

Another top must-have? Buyers are prioritizing condos with intelligent floorplans, often with more than one bedroom, and flexible space that could accommodate any number of uses as needs change over time. This desire solidified as a top request in the wake of COVID-19, when working from home became – and, for many, remains – the norm.

Flexible space could mean having a place to comfortably accommodate work-from-home (hello office with a door!), an extra bedroom, a hobby or exercise room- or all of the above. And we’ll be honest and say that a den (read: a nook near the front door of the condo unit) often just doesn’t cut it these days. An extra bedroom(s) is ideal, even if a homeowner doesn’t necessarily require it for a WFH office at this moment in time. Nobody knows what the future might bring, and so a key benefit of flex space is that its purpose can evolve over time!

What’s more attractive to future buyers than options at home?

 

 

 

Bonus Bedroom A Boon For Buyers

An extra bedroom is the ultimate flex space, making units with two or three of them particularly appealing to those with the means to acquire one. Securing a two-bed or larger unit is also a future-thinking purchase because the supply of larger units is lagging behind demand. In fact, the larger the unit, the lower the available supply.

The current demand for two-bed units is rising parallel to the popularity and normalization of condo living across multiple demographics. Over the last decade or so, the pool of potential buyers has expanded to include affluent singles, divorced parents with children, younger couples who plan to start a family, DINKS (double-income, no kids), and downsizing Boomers, among others. It’s become a crowded buyer pool!

(I’ve written about these various demographics and their respective dwell hunts in Single And Home Hunting In Toronto, Downsizing: The Challenges Of Finding A House-Sized Condominium – and – Dear Urbaneer: Is It Time To Downsize My Property?

Demand for multi-bed units is only going to keep rising in coming years as more and more aging Baby Boomers downsize, and as Toronto’s population grows under Canada’s aggressive immigration targets to help fill labour shortages. The intelligent buy considers the mechanics of supply versus demand but also looks at the market potential – as in, the larger the buyer pool, the greater the likelihood to sell in the future – both quickly and for top dollar. Not to mention, having more space at home diversifies and enhances one’s lifestyle during the tenure of homeownership.

 

 

 

By The Numbers

What is the proportion of larger to smaller units, in the marketplace today? Let’s use the Showcase Lofts in Leslieville as a typical example.

It has 230 units that range in size from 427 square feet to 1942 square feet.

  • 164 of the units are one-bedroom, which accounts for 68 percent of the units in the building, so the vast majority.
  • 63 units have two bedrooms, which works out to only 26 percent of the unit mix.
  • There are 12 three-bedroom units or 5 percent of the unit mix.
  • There is one, solitary four-bedroom unit out of 230 units. So, one of a kind, indeed.

What is the takeaway here? The number of units drops substantially from one to two-bedroom, and then continues to decline by a wide margin the bigger the condominium gets.

The bigger the condo, the lower the available stock. Meanwhile, the buyer pool seeking two-bedroom+ units is growing by the day.

The math alone is a very good reason to consider our new listing in this particular building at 88 Colgate Avenue! With two bedrooms and a thoughtful, intelligently designed floorplan that spans almost 850 square feet of indoor living space (plus 243 square feet of private outdoor space), this is a buy that offers comfort and style today, while also increasing the likelihood of a healthy return on your real estate investment in the future.

 


 

Check out this voluminous, ground-level, two-bed, two-bath suite on Toronto’s east side! We call it: So Sweet Ya Gotta Brush Yer Teeth – On Colgate Avenue In Leslieville – listed for $1,075,000, with offers welcomed anytime!

Located on the corner of Carlaw and Colgate Avenues, this spectacular 2-bed 2-bath lofty condominium with a sundrenched terrace and private street entry is just steps from the services, shops and cafes of Queen Street East! We love this area. It has an engaging cosmopolitan synergy kissed with a dash of industrial grit, mixed with wagging tails and laughing children by day, and a splash of spicy wanderlust by night. This is why its streets are filled with smiling people and its notable restaurants and nightlife have become a draw for visitors.

 

 

If you have questions or want to book a private viewing, contact James Ormston at james@urbaneer.com

 


 

A Little Bit Of Further Reading For You:

 

Five Points to Ponder Before Buying a Condominium

Dear Urbaneer – How To Evaluate A Toronto Condo

Dear Urbaneer – Understanding Condominium Common Element Fees

Unpacking The Metrics Behind Toronto Condo Fees

Dear Urbaneer: On Buying A Toronto Condominium Pre-Construction

Does The Exterior Of A Condominium Influence Value?

A Realtor’s Tips For Mastering A Condo Move

How Can I Be Smart About My Condominium Wish List?

Animal House: Buying a Condo Your Dog Will Love

 


 

And that’s the guiding principle of what we do: help you find a property that addresses your present needs, while setting you up for future success. I am here to help!

 

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 personally introduce our services to you.

Serving first and second-time Buyers, relocations, renovators, and those building their long-term property portfolios, our mandate is to help clients choose the property that 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 circumstances. Check out How Urbaneer’s Custom Marketing Program Sold This Authentic Broadview Loft to learn more about what we do!

Consider letting Urbaneer guide you through your Buying or Selling process, without pressure, or hassle.

 

 

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 –

Celebrating Thirty-Four Years As A Top-Producing Toronto Realtor

 

*Did you know we were recently listed as one of The Top 25 Toronto Real Estate Agents To Follow On Twitter! – The Top 50 Blogs In Toronto – and The Top 100 Real Estate Blogs In Canada? Consider signing up in the box below to receive our FREE monthly e-newsletter on housing, culture, and design including our love for unique urban homes and other Toronto real estate!

*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!

 

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