CANADIANS LOVE THE CONDO LIFESTYLE
There’s been a dramatic change to Toronto’s skyline in the last few years as dozens of new high-rise condominiums have been built to feed the current housing boom. While it appears the market may be cooling, a new survey suggests that the long-term prognosis is good for condo developers in Canada.
The survey, conducted by Ipsos-Reid.ca for TD Bank, says that younger Canadians are more willing to consider raising a family in a condo than those who are over 45 years old. Overall, 80 per cent of the people surveyed would not consider raising a family in a condominium, but those in the age group that’s most likely ready to start a family (25 to 34-year-olds) are the most open to the idea of condo living.
The results also indicate that those who currently live in condos are enjoying the experience. “Younger Canadians who bought condos as their first step into the housing markets have grown accustomed to the numerous benefits of the condo lifestyle, and many are considering extending them into the next phase of their lives,” says Chris Wisniewski of TD Canada Trust.
The survey, conducted among adults aged 25-59 in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa, found that 64 per cent of respondents would not be likely to consider purchasing a condo as a primary residence. But the 35 per cent who would consider it are driving condo sales to record levels.
In Toronto, it’s expected that a record number of new condos will be built for the second consecutive year. In June, more new high-rise condos were sold in the city than ever before. “Home buyers were snapping up a new condo every four minutes the sales offices were open,” says Desi Auciello, president of the Greater Toronto Home Builders’ Association. “Frankly, we never thought we’d see the day when low-rise product would represent the minority of our sales, particularly to this extent,” he says. Six out of every 10 new homes sold in June were high-rise suites. Through the first six months of the year, high-rise sales are running two per cent ahead of last year’s pace, while low-rise sales have declined by 10 per cent.
In the resale market, high-rise condos represented 20.2 per cent of the market share in July. The median price for a resale condo in the Greater Toronto Area in July was $214,000, while the average new high-rise condo price in June was $314,370. The average price for resale homes of all types in July was $358,035.
Not surprisingly, affordability is one of the main reasons why condos continue to be popular, and was cited in the survey by 57 per cent of those who said they would choose a condo as their primary residence. Other reasons for buying a condo, according to the survey results, are because they are “easier maintain (69 per cent)”, and because people are “attracted to the condo lifestyle” (45 per cent).
Asked what amenities condos can offer to families, the top answers were building security (91 per cent), proximity to public transit (87 per cent), pool or recreational facilities for children (83 per cent), close to work (81 per cent), and proximity to schools (81 per cent).
Torontonians surveyed were the most likely to say all of these amenities are important to have for raising children in a condo, and were also the most likely to say they would not consider buying a condo because there is “no backyard or play areas.”
People in Montreal were the most likely to say that condos are not suitable for families with children living at home, and 87 per cent said they would not be likely to consider starting and raising a family in a condo.
In contrast, Vancouver residents were the most likely to have lived in a condo either now or in the past (36 per cent), and the most likely to say they would consider buying a condo as their primary residence. They are also the most likely to consider starting a family and raising children in a condo.
Affordability is the number one reason why they would purchase a condo.
“Traditional attitudes change slowly,” says Wisniewski. “Yet, as condo developers continue to create new projects with more family-friendly features and amenities, I think we can expect to see a rise in the number of families with children who choose this option.”
Published: August 10, 2006
By Jim Adair