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Family Sized Condos

UserNameToronto

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...[Being cosmopolitan] means to have musicians walking the streets, 20 different types of live music to hear on any given night within a 30 min WALK, spoken word, live THEATRE - not movies, experimental art galleries, ART, a multilingual populace - a cutting edge - where things are going on any night of the week. Nothing like that exists in any sort of density anywhere outside of the above boundaries.
By your definition, huge swaths of Manhattan are not cosmopolitan. My definition would be a bit wider--the most common definition of "downtown" I've seen is High Park to the Don, the lakeshore to Bloor.

Also, POST OF THE MONTH for Granny!

I was recently had a fascinating chat with some young parents at a get together recently.
The subject of 'family sized' units in the city was a hot subject.
The veteran 'burb' couples actually agreed with the one 'city' couple that was there. They seemed almost in awe of that couple.
What exactly is a family unit or a family neighborhood?
Are the suburbs really family oriented or is it just a huge myth?
Think about it.
You are young and starting out in life. You have a child on the way, and hoping for another someday, so you want a house with 3 bedrooms (four would be better) and a family room. You want a backyard for the kids to play in. You want to be reasonably close to a school. You want a great nurturing and secure enviroment for your family. Yo want to live well.

After a few drives out to several 905 locations on Sunday afternoons, you take the plunge and buy what you can afford in Milton, Bowmanville, or some outlying new area that has a brand new subdivision. Its a scenario thats been repeated thousands of times.

Now reality sets in...
 
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realtycoon

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You are young and starting out in life. You have a child on the way, and hoping for another someday, so you want a house with 3 bedrooms (four would be better) and a family room. You want a backyard for the kids to play in. You want to be reasonably close to a school. You want a great nurturing and secure enviroment for your family. Yo want to live well.
.................


Now reality sets in.

. Wow! Where did all these cars come from? Certainly different than Sunday afternoon. The next two hours is spent in the car. You wonder how the drive home will be. You wonder what winter will be like. You wonder what traffic will be like in a few more years as more of these subdivisions around you get completed. You wonder if you need to gas up again. You wonder what that unfamiliar sound coming from under the hood could be. You wonder if you will get to work on time. You wonder what time you will be able to pick up the baby. You have lots of time to think about these things.

....

The city couple with their little girl have learned the secret. Daycare is just around the corner. The school is 3 blocks away. The parks and Toronto island on the weekend are fantastic. So are the galleries, the museum, and the myriad of cultural events and activities. The office is a fifteen minute walk away. They pick up something fresh to prepare for the evening meal most days. The one late model car they own has not been filled up with gas for over six weeks. They are very content living in their two bedroom unit and they have something they will never trade away. They have time.

Many households are dual income, and in many cases, one of them works out in 905, many new business are in Mississauga, Vaughan, Markham and Richmond Hill, the drive from downtown to there is even worse, especially with Toronto's "War on the car", where it can take you 20-30min just to get onto the Gardiner or DVP.
In 905, one drives 10-15min to work, the other hops on the Go Train to the city, 30min one way.

It comes down to price and quality of life, sure there are cafes, and shops downtown, but when paying a $600K mortgage on a 1,000sf condo with $550/mo maintenance fees, I can't afford to go to Starbucks, or the opera, or the eco-friendly, organic daycare.
Now not all suburbs are great, there are many areas that are sprawl with nothing to offer, but there are many areas (Aurora, Stouffville, Unionville, Oakville, Milton) that are a self sustained towns, with Go Train connections, shops, restaurants, cafes, plus lots of parks, trails, valleys, rivers, tennis courts, playgrounds and schools. The best part is that you can get the best of both worlds, a nice home, with a yard and backyard to have a BBQ and relax, and money left over to go out and enjoy life.
I find that many of the proponents of "city living" (Richard Florida), don't even practice what they preach, as they live in great big homes in Rosedale and have all the suburban luxuries downtown while paying Millions for the privlege, for the common folk, it's hard to justify $600K-$1mil+ for a 2bdrm condo or to try and live in a 500sf box, where your bedroom doesn't have a window, but at least you can walk to the organic dry cleaners.
 

Eug

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Many households are dual income, and in many cases, one of them works out in 905, many new business are in Mississauga, Vaughan, Markham and Richmond Hill, the drive from downtown to there is even worse, especially with Toronto's "War on the car", where it can take you 20-30min just to get onto the Gardiner or DVP.
In 905, one drives 10-15min to work, the other hops on the Go Train to the city, 30min one way.

It comes down to price and quality of life, sure there are cafes, and shops downtown, but when paying a $600K mortgage on a 1,000sf condo with $550/mo maintenance fees, I can't afford to go to Starbucks, or the opera, or the eco-friendly, organic daycare.
Now not all suburbs are great, there are many areas that are sprawl with nothing to offer, but there are many areas (Aurora, Stouffville, Unionville, Oakville, Milton) that are a self sustained towns, with Go Train connections, shops, restaurants, cafes, plus lots of parks, trails, valleys, rivers, tennis courts, playgrounds and schools. The best part is that you can get the best of both worlds, a nice home, with a yard and backyard to have a BBQ and relax, and money left over to go out and enjoy life.
I find that many of the proponents of "city living" (Richard Florida), don't even practice what they preach, as they live in great big homes in Rosedale and have all the suburban luxuries downtown while paying Millions for the privlege, for the common folk, it's hard to justify $600K-$1mil+ for a 2bdrm condo or to try and live in a 500sf box, where your bedroom doesn't have a window, but at least you can walk to the organic dry cleaners.
Indeed, it reminds me of this family. Now, this is an extreme case, but an illustrative one nonetheless. The family lives on Fifth Avenue in New York and consists of double-income parents and two small children. They make US$400000 a year... and live in an 800 square foot condo, cuz that's all they can afford. All they would have to do is move elsewhere in Manhattan, and they could get a larger place for less money, but they must live in the epicentre of downtown New York. That's fine if that's their choice, but some people try to convince others that it's automatically the best choice, which is obviously false.

Like I said before, several of my downtown condo dwelling neighbours moved out of downtown when they had kids. Why? Because there wasn't enough space, because it would cost too much to get more space, and because many of the downtown neighbourhoods are comparatively not as kid friendly. However, these are people who still enjoy downtown amenities and work downtown, so they move to areas such as Riverdale which are just a hop, skip, and a jump away, yet have streets with affordable single-family homes with lots of other kids around. These are people who have already have lived downtown for many years. They know what downtown living is like, chose to live elsewhere, and are very happy with their choice.

Other people I know do live much further than the above example of Riverdale, but as you say, often times the reason is because their other half actually works out there.
 

confusion

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I think family sized condos in Toronto will always be a pipe dream.

They take up too much space. They will always be occupied by students and people trying to save money. Their prices will always be pushed out of the affordability range because of location and square footage.

It's just the nature of downtown, and the nature of our business run money loving society. You really can't have a family in the core unless you've got money to spend.
 

cdr108

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There are many older well maintained buildings in dt TO stock that are large (1200-1400 SF) enough to be used as family units that sell for $360-450K.

But it seems there is an adversity for the older products and everyone wants NEW.
 

Eug

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There are many older well maintained buildings in dt TO stock that are large (1200-1400 SF) enough to be used as family units that sell for $360-450K.

But it seems there is an adversity for the older products and everyone wants NEW.
Examples? My recollection was that there was almost nothing with 3 bedrooms and >1200 sq ft. under $400000 in the downtown core in a nice building.

However, maybe price drops in the last few months have pushed more units to that mark.
 

UserNameToronto

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Examples? My recollection was that there was almost nothing with 3 bedrooms and >1200 sq ft. under $400000 in the downtown core in a nice building.
Maybe your idea of "nice building" is really narrow.

http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=8206148

$329K, 1075sqft + 700sqft basement. Maint $290/mo.

Just down the street from Brewery Lofts/Corktown District, where prices range from $380-450/sqft and up. Even if you don't like this building, it fits the criteria with $70K to spare under your $400K limit. Many similar sized/slightly larger freehold homes are in the area for similar/slightly higher pricing.
 
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cdr108

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Examples? My recollection was that there was almost nothing with 3 bedrooms and >1200 sq ft. under $400000 in the downtown core in a nice building.

However, maybe price drops in the last few months have pushed more units to that mark.

There are several buildings on Carlton between Yonge and Church.

Here is an example, although it is officially 2+2, with a little work, it can be configured to 3b with one being an interior bedroom without window. But that's no different than many of the stuff on the market now.
http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=8220078

In the St. Lawrence mkt area - 1500 sf, 2b + library + famiy room.
http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=8039565

2 level 2b + d:
http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=8214600


Bay and Gerrard, next to future Aura - 1250sf, 2b + sol:
http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=8228815

Bay/Wellsley, 2b + sol:
http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=8201292
 

realtycoon

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There are many older well maintained buildings in dt TO stock that are large (1200-1400 SF) enough to be used as family units that sell for $360-450K.

But it seems there is an adversity for the older products and everyone wants NEW.

One big concern is the high maintenance fees in older buildings. Many of the listings posted have fees ranging from $600 all the way to almost $1,000/month.
 

cdr108

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One big concern is the high maintenance fees in older buildings. Many of the listings posted have fees ranging from $600 all the way to almost $1,000/month.
We're talking about 1200-1400 SF.
$0.50-0.60 PSF is common these days, and that includes the new buildings too. Don't get fooled by the 'teaser' rate advertised by builders because many will attest that after the 1st year, their rates jacked up !
 

dt_toronto_geek

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There's a building I'm familiar with on Jarvis n. of Dundas, only 4 suites per floor, all apartments are 2 bed + den (easily converted to 3rd bedroom), 1700 sq. ft. and currently list in the mid to upper $300's. These are exceptionally sized family homes in a secure, well maintained building that's close to everything. Maintenance fees are good (a little under $700/month) and include hydro, water & cable.
Many downtown buildings from the late 70's & 80's can be great finds for family living. Hopefully the next real estate wave will produce reasonably sized family units to add to the existing stock that won't break the bank.
 

realtycoon

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We're talking about 1200-1400 SF.
$0.50-0.60 PSF is common these days, and that includes the new buildings too. Don't get fooled by the 'teaser' rate advertised by builders because many will attest that after the 1st year, their rates jacked up !
True, on a PSF basis it's in line with market, but keep in mind many families will compare these "family sized" condos with detached/semis/town homes in 416 and 905. Then it's hard to justify the high monthly maintenance fees,.
 

cdr108

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True, on a PSF basis it's in line with market, but keep in mind many families will compare these "family sized" condos with detached/semis/town homes in 416 and 905. Then it's hard to justify the high monthly maintenance fees,.
Yes, I don't disagree with that.
It's just that many have been conditioned to think of buying all these new pre-construction buildings and forgot all about the other alternatives that exist.
 

prosperegal

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True, on a PSF basis it's in line with market, but keep in mind many families will compare these "family sized" condos with detached/semis/town homes in 416 and 905. Then it's hard to justify the high monthly maintenance fees,.
But condo fees pay for amenities such as the gym, maintenance, etc...Living in a condo means I don't have to clear the snow, mow the lawn or pay for gym membership. I can just use the gym in my building (most new buildings would have one).
 

Eug

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There are several buildings on Carlton between Yonge and Church.

Here is an example, although it is officially 2+2, with a little work, it can be configured to 3b with one being an interior bedroom without window. But that's no different than many of the stuff on the market now.
http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=8220078

In the St. Lawrence mkt area - 1500 sf, 2b + library + famiy room.
http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=8039565

2 level 2b + d:
http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=8214600


Bay and Gerrard, next to future Aura - 1250sf, 2b + sol:
http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=8228815

Bay/Wellsley, 2b + sol:
http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=8201292
That one for $379000 is concerning as they avoided posting pictures of the interior. Never a good sign. And it's 2 bedroom anyway as you said.

The one for $399000 seems promising though. It just made the < $400000 cut. :)


Maybe your idea of "nice building" is really narrow.

http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=8206148

$329K, 1075sqft + 700sqft basement. Maint $290/mo.

Just down the street from Brewery Lofts/Corktown District, where prices range from $380-450/sqft and up. Even if you don't like this building, it fits the criteria with $70K to spare under your $400K limit. Many similar sized/slightly larger freehold homes are in the area for similar/slightly higher pricing.
Yeah, that place would definitely fit not my criteria of nice, partially because of the location too. I guess that's why it so cheap.

Oh and they didn't bother showing interior pictures of that place either.

Anyways, it seems that these condos are about $10000 to $20000 cheaper than they used to be, which I guess makes sense given the economic downturn.


There's a building I'm familiar with on Jarvis n. of Dundas, only 4 suites per floor, all apartments are 2 bed + den (easily converted to 3rd bedroom), 1700 sq. ft. and currently list in the mid to upper $300's. These are exceptionally sized family homes in a secure, well maintained building that's close to everything. Maintenance fees are good (a little under $700/month) and include hydro, water & cable.
Many downtown buildings from the late 70's & 80's can be great finds for family living. Hopefully the next real estate wave will produce reasonably sized family units to add to the existing stock that won't break the bank.
Yeah, assuming the place is decent then that's a pretty good deal. We won't see any new units going forward at that price range (comparatively) though.
 
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