With great gains projected for 2016, Toronto’s real estate market shows no signs of slowing down. While single family detached homes continue to rank highest for Toronto sales, top tier condominiums and attached homes are on the rise, reflecting the change in tastes and values for Torontonians. So whether you are in the market for your first home, or are simply looking to accommodate a growing family, here are our five top tips to keep in mind when making your next purchase in one of the world’s most liveable cities.

1. The Shortage of Toronto Condos is a Myth

Toronto skyline

With a skyline of burgeoning buildings that is growing to resemble Hong Kong’s, Toronto is far from having a condo crisis. However, there is still insufficient supply to meet the demands of buyers for a number of reasons:

Inbound flow: Substantial inbound migration from outside the city and outside immigration from other countries often means quick turnaround for homes in desirable areas.

Transitioning Torontonian taste: Walkability to work, friends, and recreation are now more in demand than a two-hour commute to the suburbs.

Building small: With the greatest shortage of condos in the city hovering in the 1600- to 2200-square-foot range, developers simply aren’t building enough large condos to satisfy buyer demand.

Buy Within Walking Distance of the TTC

Toronto streetcar

The GTA is projected to be the fastest growing region in Ontario in the years to come, with its population predicted to increase by 43% to reach almost 9.5 million by 2041. As this happens, the best increase in real estate value will be found closer to existing or future subway lines. This also means closer proximity to restaurants, shopping, and schools. Plus, as the population increases, morning and afternoon traffic will become more and more difficult to navigate. Is a large house with numerous bedrooms and lots of land worth two hours a day in your car?

Don’t Dismiss Grandma’s House

Living room at 124 Park Road, Toronto

Home staging is a huge business in Toronto. Most buyers get eager to pack up and move in, but they often forget that the staged designer furniture and striking works of art leave the house before the closing date. In such a competitive market, buyers may be better served to investigate other options, such as investing in a home that requires a bit of a facelift. Never underestimate the impact a fresh coat of paint can have on a space.

Larger Isn’t Necessarily Better

Kitchen at 32 Davenport Road TH105, Toronto

Applying this notion to the housing industry is akin to suggesting that an SUV is better than a Fiat or a Mini. There will always be a demand for larger homes; however, style is ultimately more important than size. Turnkey designer, move-in ready is more sought after, and with low interest rates and super busy careers, buyers are looking for all of the bells and whistles in a smaller, more manageably sized package. Additionally, the average family size in the city has shrunk— the number of one-person households increased over 12% from 2006 to 2011 (the latest census data). Many people are looking for a greater work/life balance and the freedom to get out and enjoy the city.

Think of Your Future Needs

Exterior of brick home at 19 Chestnut Park Road, Toronto

Often times buyers have in mind the size of their family unit today, and and not in five or 10 years’ time. Will a change in the family force you to sell? Are you in a good school area? Given Toronto’s expensive property taxes, simply making a lateral move can cost your family a significant portion of any gains you have made. Be sure to evaluate your area well before you purchase.

Ready to Buy or Sell in Toronto?

Navigating the landscape of the Toronto real estate market can be a challenge. Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or simply looking to move the family closer to school, contact an expert REALTOR® to help steer you in the right direction.

Looking for more information about buying a home? Download our free 2016 Homebuyer’s Guide here.

A special thank you to Paul Maranger and Richard Silver for their insights and contributions to this article.

Photos: Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, V. Ben / Shutterstock.com, Kiev.Victor / Shutterstock.com

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