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Looking to buy a waterfront condo

APM

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Hey guys was looking at something and saw this forum. I am a 28 year old male looking to move out on my own and my dream has been to buy a waterfront condo. I was looking at a few on queens quay but its not what I want. I want a clear lake view so I found a few on harbour sq. The price I was looking at was around $300,000 with a parking spot. Found a few at $330,000 at just over 750 sq.
Basically I need advice cause I am totally lost.
I am looking to buy a condo to live in. However, I dont want to see it go down in value 6 months a year from now.
Like I said my dream is right on the lake with a clear view. Dont want it to big up to 750 sq is fine, what price m I looking at?
Is this a good time to buy one, or should I wait 6 months a year and then I would be able to get one for a better price?
I dont want to post a 100 questions. So, basically advice for a single guy that wants to buy a waterfront condo south side of queens quay with a clear view of the lake?
I do apologize for the length of my post.
Thanks so much for the advice.
Regards
 

Bentley

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If you like things now and they're in your price range just go for it. Prices are forecasted to rise moderately over the next two years so now might be your best chance to buy.

I personally think condos down by the water may not hold their value as well and might drop, especially some of the older buildings. But hey, that's just my opinion. The "pros" seem to think otherwise so take it for what it's worth.
 

Urban Newbie

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Are you looking at existing places or pre-construction? Pre-con is generally cheaper, but can come with headaches/delays/cancelled projects etc.
R.
 

APM

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Are you looking at existing places or pre-construction? Pre-con is generally cheaper, but can come with headaches/delays/cancelled projects etc.
R.

I am looking for an existing place. Dont want to wait 2-3 years for a new one. And the only new one I know of is pier 27.
 

APM

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Bentley thanks so much for your input. But, I still feel I am in a situation where I dont know if its smart to buy one or not.
 

Observer Walt

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This discussion has been seen recently in a slightly different form in one or two other threads. My own opinion is that "timing" the market is usually a futile exercise. If you want the place to live in, as opposed to an investment, do your research, find what you want, and then go ahead and buy it.

I don't think prices are set to fall. My best guess is that they will continue to go up, although at a slower pace over the next year or two than in the past several years. But whether your value goes down in the shorter term or not doesn't matter if it's your home, and you are in for a reasonably long term.
 

Bentley

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Bentley thanks so much for your input. But, I still feel I am in a situation where I dont know if its smart to buy one or not.

As a couple have said, timing the market is pointless.

You've got two choices. Buy a place, or continue to rent. When renting, your money is gone. So in the end while you may be buying at a high point you'd have spent probably 15k a year to rent if you don't buy. So maybe in two years prices drop a bit, but you'll have rented for 2 years costing you 30k. Will the prices drop that much? Hard to say, but the experts say it won't.

If the experts are right and prices continue to rise at a much more moderate pace then your best time to buy is right now.

If the experts are wrong, the economy slows, and oversupply hits the market (there are countless new projects going up right now and in the next 3 years) then prices will likely drop.

So it's whatever you believe.

Fundamentals right now are great. Low unemployment, booming markets, strong population growth, etc. But I personally think the majority of the 100,000 people moving into Toronto are not buyers. They're mostly lower income immigrants who will probably start their lives in the city by renting. So despite the growth, I don't know how much of those people are buying condos.

The other argument is the baby boomers moving out of their big suburban homes into smaller condos as they retire. In my opinion this will continue to happen for the next 10 years or so, but the higher end and larger unit buildings will likely benefit from this, not the 500 sq ft 1 bedrooms that most buildings are pumping out.

So take it for what it's worth. I'm no expert. Just someone passionate about the markets and real estate.

PS - If being down by the lake is your thing, look at tip top lofts. Maybe it's just me, but I love that building
 

nekz

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PS - If being down by the lake is your thing, look at tip top lofts. Maybe it's just me, but I love that building

But Quay West is going up, in between the lake/South Beach residences and Tip Top. Weirdest place to put a condo, in my opinion. We'll see how it does.
 

freshcutgrass

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FYI...the best time time to buy a home...is always now. Real estate prices never go down...they always go up. They do fluctuate in the short term, but if you are looking for a home for yourself, and it's a relatively long-term thing...I wouldn't worry that much about real estate prices fluctuating.

As for Toronto waterfront condos...if you want to beat the system in terms of short term fluctuating prices (and better long-term gains), just be a little smarter than the average bear.

Condos in general will always be in abundance in terms of existing or potential stock. Waterfront condos are a more finite commodity...central waterfront (Harbourfront area) even more finite...and outstanding properties even rarer.

I would pass on the cookie-cutter condos and concentrate on the more outstanding buildings, and ones that are real waterfront properties (on the south side of Queen's Quay if possible).

I would look at buildings like Tip Top, QQT, Harbour Terrace, King's Landing and believe it or not...Admiralty Point.

These stand out amongst the others, but may be a little beyond your price point.
 

Observer Walt

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^ Freshcutgrass: Much wisdom there. Your first paragraph echoes what I and several others have said. Forget the short-term fluctuations and go ahead and buy, as long as you can be reasonably disciplined about taking a longer-term view.

Your advice about a waterfront location is also quite valid. The units that face the water, and are not subject to having their views blocked by a possible future development, are, by definition, "premium" and will remain so even in a serious down market. Their prices will, of course, reflect this.
 
B

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APM,

I have lived in Harbour Square for 10 years now. I'll give you my two cents.

Harbour Square is made up of 3 buildings: 33, 55/65 and 77/99. 77/99 (at York St.) is the newest building. I think Harbour Square offers excellent advantages:

1) Location- you can walk to the downtown core in 12 minutes. You don't have to rely on the TTC.

2) Bus service- Harbour Square has three buses that continously run to Union Station (and a route that goes north.) These buses also go to other places on the weekend- Loblaws, Eaton Centre, T&T Supermarket, St. Lawrence Mkt, etc.

3) Visitor's parking- Harbour Square has tonnes of visitor's parking- In the 10 years that I've lived here, my guests have always been able to find a visitors parking spot.

4) Direct south lake views that will never be unobstructed- Harbour Square offers this in spades....plus, the height of the buildings (40 floors) result in spectacular lake views.

5) Common areas- 77/99 and 55/65 offer fanastic common areas - gyms, bars, squash courts, swimming pools, restaurant (77/99.) These common areas are hands down the best on Queen's Quay. 33's common areas are not that great. 33 was the first building on Queen's Quay (1973?) and was originally an apartment building. It was later converted to a condominium. I lived there for a bit and there are a lot of problems with this bulding....if you are fussy, then beware.

A fantastic 1-BR are the 09/10/11 units in 77/99. They are 750 SQ. FT., face West and offer fantastic lake views with a good size balcony. Units above the 20th floor are especially good as the views clear the Queen's Quay Terminal Building. The price is fairly steep though....a unit on a high floor that is renovated will fetch as much as $400,000. You may be able to get an unrenovated, low-floor unit for $330,000 to $350,000.

One caveat: airplane noise from the Island Airport. In the south half of 99 and in many south units of 65 and 33 you can hear the airplanes when they take off in a easterly direction (which happens maybe 40% of the time.) If you are sensitive to noise, you should look into this further. In talking to neighbours in my building, at least half of the people don't like the plane noise and are not thrilled about Porter Airlines. The other half don't mind the noise at all. Furthermore, in the summer months you can hear music from the party boats in the harbour in these same south facing units. On many weekends, the music is constant and often you can hear the dance music well past 11:00...even as late as 12:30 to 1:00 in the morning (they don't adhere to noise bylaws.) So again you should keep this in mind if you think it might bug you.

The Waterclub is kitty-corner from 77/99 and is the newest building in the immediate area. Newer has its advantages- for example, you can put on the air conditioning or heating at any time during the year. In 77/99, you do not have that choice. Right now the Air Conditioning is still not on and it can get pretty hot on days like today. The Waterclub also has great facilities and the residents are younger. (generally the older the building, the older the residents.) The Waterclub does not offer as good views as Harbour Square (although some are spectacular) and they don't have a bus service or a lot of visitor's parking.

Hope that helps.
 

blinknoodle

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APM,

I have lived in Harbour Square for 10 years now. I'll give you my two cents.

Harbour Square is made up of 3 buildings: 33, 55/65 and 77/99. 77/99 (at York St.) is the newest building. I think Harbour Square offers excellent advantages:

1) Location- you can walk to the downtown core in 12 minutes. You don't have to rely on the TTC.

2) Bus service- Harbour Square has three buses that continously run to Union Station (and a route that goes north.) These buses also go to other places on the weekend- Loblaws, Eaton Centre, T&T Supermarket, St. Lawrence Mkt, etc.

3) Visitor's parking- Harbour Square has tonnes of visitor's parking- In the 10 years that I've lived here, my guests have always been able to find a visitors parking spot.

4) Direct south lake views that will never be unobstructed- Harbour Square offers this in spades....plus, the height of the buildings (40 floors) result in spectacular lake views.

5) Common areas- 77/99 and 55/65 offer fanastic common areas - gyms, bars, squash courts, swimming pools, restaurant (77/99.) These common areas are hands down the best on Queen's Quay. 33's common areas are not that great. 33 was the first building on Queen's Quay (1973?) and was originally an apartment building. It was later converted to a condominium. I lived there for a bit and there are a lot of problems with this bulding....if you are fussy, then beware.

A fantastic 1-BR are the 09/10/11 units in 77/99. They are 750 SQ. FT., face West and offer fantastic lake views with a good size balcony. Units above the 20th floor are especially good as the views clear the Queen's Quay Terminal Building. The price is fairly steep though....a unit on a high floor that is renovated will fetch as much as $400,000. You may be able to get an unrenovated, low-floor unit for $330,000 to $350,000.

One caveat: airplane noise from the Island Airport. In the south half of 99 and in many south units of 65 and 33 you can hear the airplanes when they take off in a easterly direction (which happens maybe 40% of the time.) If you are sensitive to noise, you should look into this further. In talking to neighbours in my building, at least half of the people don't like the plane noise and are not thrilled about Porter Airlines. The other half don't mind the noise at all. Furthermore, in the summer months you can hear music from the party boats in the harbour in these same south facing units. On many weekends, the music is constant and often you can hear the dance music well past 11:00...even as late as 12:30 to 1:00 in the morning (they don't adhere to noise bylaws.) So again you should keep this in mind if you think it might bug you.

The Waterclub is kitty-corner from 77/99 and is the newest building in the immediate area. Newer has its advantages- for example, you can put on the air conditioning or heating at any time during the year. In 77/99, you do not have that choice. Right now the Air Conditioning is still not on and it can get pretty hot on days like today. The Waterclub also has great facilities and the residents are younger. (generally the older the building, the older the residents.) The Waterclub does not offer as good views as Harbour Square (although some are spectacular) and they don't have a bus service or a lot of visitor's parking.

Hope that helps.

Awesome post. Very helpful. :)
 

APM

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The Waterclub is kitty-corner from 77/99 and is the newest building in the immediate area. Newer has its advantages- for example, you can put on the air conditioning or heating at any time during the year. In 77/99, you do not have that choice. Right now the Air Conditioning is still not on and it can get pretty hot on days like today. The Waterclub also has great facilities and the residents are younger. (generally the older the building, the older the residents.) The Waterclub does not offer as good views as Harbour Square (although some are spectacular) and they don't have a bus service or a lot of visitor's parking.

Can you or someone on here give me some more info on this waterclub condo. Is it north of queens quay. If not can someone please give me a link.
Thanks
 

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