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Toronto Urban Sprawl Compared to Other Cities

lead82

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The city decides zoning and where things can be built and where they can't. That is tue ultimate control. They also impose heigh, envelope, setbacks, shadow and many other regulations. So they do have tight controls. The city and the province control the building code and what gets built. They make it profitable to build small units rather than large. That's partly why developers build so many smaller units. Tue development charges affect charges too. If city wanted to truly encourage more family units why not reduce development charges for buildings with larger 2/3 bedroom units? They can provide incentives and disincentives. Asking developers to built it won't work because they know the pricing structure as a result of fees and charges won't be profitable for them.

I've lived in many condos and been on the board of directors. Amenities such as gyms are used but things like swimming pools are dormant most of the time and break down the rest. Concierge service is nice but expensive and unnecessary. Party rooms are mostly empty. Fancy lobbies that are expensive to maintain. The minimum amenity provisions are use those provisions for marketing. So it helps them more than it does the city.

I fully agree with you re: Keesmat. She is ambitious. I don't know if she will ever get into politics or stick to being a civil servant. She is outspoken but also believes in urbanism and it's benefits. Walking communities, amenities close by, mid-rise and denser low-rise is what we should be encouraging to build. This is exactly what she is advocating for. It is happening but slower then expected. City bureaucracy and politicians are a tough nut to crack.
 

lead82

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A very interesting article. Further adds to my point that the politicians have created this crazy market. Housing is now the commodity and asset of choice. It's now where most people out their money. Many people have multiple properties that they rent out. Most of the economic growth has been due to real estate and related activities. Heck Toronto wouldn't be even able to balance its budget without the TLTT.

The new provincial rules won't help much. We need higher property taxes to pay for services for residents. We shoulda also perhaps remove the 50% exemption for capital gains tax on RE because it's more than an asset, it's someone's home.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/real-estate/vancouver/housing-talk-gets-louder-and-angrier-in-vancouver/article34850038/
 

freshcutgrass

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The city decides zoning and where things can be built and where they can't. That is tue ultimate control. They also impose heigh, envelope, setbacks, shadow and many other regulations. So they do have tight controls. The city and the province control the building code and what gets built.
Zoning and building codes are ubiquitous...they have nothing to do with controlling the market itself (supply and demand).


They make it profitable to build small units rather than large. That's partly why developers build so many smaller units.
No they don't. Supply some evidence to back up your claim (and not the non-evidence type of evidence you used to back up your erroneous claim that the government tightly controls market forces). If anything, the City tries to encourage developers to include more family units in the approval process, but to no avail, as you can't force developers to build what the market won't buy.


If city wanted to truly encourage more family units why not reduce development charges for buildings with larger 2/3 bedroom units?
So now we're right back where we started...subsidizing certain lifestyles over others with public tax dollars.
But even then, that's not going to change the fact that the purchase price and monthly fees are based on a per square foot basis.


Concierge service is nice but expensive and unnecessary.
These so-called "concierges" are just low-paid security guards who usually have trouble signing for a package.

An actual concierge can arrange to have a baby elephant, a midget hooker and a steak from Barbarians delivered to your suite at 3:00AM with 45 minutes notice.
 

lead82

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Zoning and building codes are ubiquitous...they have nothing to do with controlling the market itself (supply and demand).
''

Zoning either allows or restricts development and where. Toronto allows intensification only along expensive land downtown and around the few subway stations we have. Land there is expensive so large units cost a lot and hard to sell. Developers charge per sq ft.


''No they don't. Supply some evidence to back up your claim (and not the non-evidence type of evidence you used to back up your erroneous claim that the government tightly controls market forces). If anything, the City tries to encourage developers to include more family units in the approval process, but to no avail, as you can't force developers to build what the market won't buy.''

http://neighbourhoodchange.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Black-2012-Affd-Housing-Research-Paper-224.pdf

A good paper from U of T on affordable housing. Yes the city tires to encourage but they are failing to do it well. They are encouraging large units downtown on expensive prime land. The paper has some interesting recommendations to reduce developer costs as a carrot.

High rises cost a lot to build.
Wooden construction and mid-rise encouragement along avenues are now allowed. This is one of the recommendations and it opens up cheaper land to build dense enough to allow larger units to be a lot more affordable. Give families units in the $500-700K range and they will buy. For $900+ there is a limited market.


''So now we're right back where we started...subsidizing certain lifestyles over others with public tax dollars.
But even then, that's not going to change the fact that the purchase price and monthly fees are based on a per square foot basis. ''

Sure if you want you can call it a subsidy. I call it creating choice in the market. It's using regulations to do just that, regulate the market distortions. A childless city is a sad place. Encouraging more families living in the city is a good thing. It makes the city vibrant. It's also the way to ensure we have future generations being born to be the future work force as we can't just import workers from abroad. It's a public good and why society made a decision long ago to subsidize K-12 education.


''These so-called "concierges" are just low-paid security guards who usually have trouble signing for a package.

An actual concierge can arrange to have a baby elephant, a midget hooker and a steak from Barbarians delivered to your suite at 3:00AM with 45 minutes notice.
Agreed. They are lowly paid but their parent company makes huge profits. 24/7 concierge or security service costs around $200K a year while the employees make just above minimum wage. On most large buildings, this is about 7-12% of the annual budget. Management is a similar cost.

My point here is that perhaps high rise condos are not the answer. Especially near subway stations. That's why I'm all for townhouses, duplex/triplex and low-midrise buildings. They are cheaper to operate. Low rise buildings can have no elevators, security or management. Essentially it's partial ownership of a large house. In speaking to several developers they admit the bureaucracy is not worth it for smaller projects. For big ones they can spread the costs more. This is something that the city can fix.
 

TOareaFan

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There's been no rent control on any building after 1991 and there still aren't many rental buildings.

As for 'subsidizing' families I'm going to guess freshcutgrass is also against Maternity Leave. Because if you can't afford a child why should the government provide you with EI for 12 months? Amirite?
Well we certainly did not get the amount of new built rental post the 1991 rule change that we were expecting but we did get an ever so slight increase. The problem with this policy (and most policies I guess) is that they never happen in a vacuum. What we saw post 1991 was the start of the our biggest ever condo boom (maybe the largest in North American history....but that is just a "feel").....and anyone looking to build purpose built rental found themselves competing for sites with condo developers....and given the near immediate profits available to condo developers and the ever growing nature of those the much slower profit model for purpose built rental made it impossible to compete for sites.....stated another way, rents had to catch up and condo profit models had to slow down for there to be much building of purpose built rental.

Ben Myers created and tweeted this graph which confirmed what many of my clients were telling me......development yields on purpose built rental buildings had finally reached the point where a) they were better off building rather than buying existing stock and b) they could put a land price into their models that allowed them to be competitive with the condo guys. Many have told me since the rent control announcement they are "revisiting" their models.....that does not mean they will definitely slow/stop their plans to build...but they are looking at things like...building smaller units (they turn over faster and, therefore, are freer from rent contols) and starting with "much higher" day one rents.....both are things that the government may call "unintended consequences" and may regret.

upload_2017-5-10_15-0-14.png
 

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toaster29

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Zoning and building codes are ubiquitous...they have nothing to do with controlling the market itself (supply and demand).









These so-called "concierges" are just low-paid security guards who usually have trouble signing for a package.

An actual concierge can arrange to have a baby elephant, a midget hooker and a steak from Barbarians delivered to your suite at 3:00AM with 45 minutes notice.
This is probably the main reason people like to live in building with a concierge. I know it is for me. I buy a lot of my day to day things online from Amazon (read toilet paper, detergent, etc). Not having someone there to sign for me would make it less convenient (and I likely wouldn't use online shopping). I've never heard that they "have trouble singing for a package" since this is all done with the paperwork when you move into a condo (rental or as a tenant). I understand you are being hyper-sensationalist with the phrasing to disparage concierges, but I have never heard of this issue.
 

freshcutgrass

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I understand you are being hyper-sensationalist with the phrasing to disparage concierges, but I have never heard of this issue.
My first thought was why be so pedantic if you knew I was poking fun ...until I realized you're the type who buys your toilet paper on line and needs someone to sign for it.

Reminds of that line in Metropolitan, where the UHB are condemned to failure, and how the failure begins with the inability to master the simple tasks in life.
 

toaster29

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My first thought was why be so pedantic if you knew I was poking fun ...until I realized you're the type who buys your toilet paper on line and needs someone to sign for it.

Reminds of that line in Metropolitan, where the UHB are condemned to failure, and how the failure begins with the inability to master the simple tasks in life.
Honestly, I just get annoyed when people use made up facts and embellishments to aggrandize their point. It wasn't obvious you were poking fun. You wanted to make a stronger point so you wrote something for which you probably don't know is true or false, in order to convince.
 

freshcutgrass

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Honestly, I just get annoyed when people use made up facts and embellishments to aggrandize their point. It wasn't obvious you were poking fun. You wanted to make a stronger point so you wrote something for which you probably don't know is true or false, in order to convince.
The fact is, there is a big difference between a security guard and a concierge, and it's pretentious to pretend otherwise, or worse....to not know the difference.

It seems ironic that this makes you so defensive, considering your distaste for embellishments and aggrandizing? hmmmm
 

pman

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Oh my God! My heart goes out to those poor NYC victims of deluded, latte-sipping professional planners. Maybe we could parachute in a crack squad of Toronto suburban councillors to save Midtown from this madness. Cause it's the World War on the Car, folks.
 

W. K. Lis

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It was because of the car that we had to put in traffic lights, lane markings, parking regulations, speed limits, and more importantly to get the pesky pedestrians and kids off the roads for the exclusive use of the automobile.


Just look at the video from 1904 to see all the things we cannot do today.
 
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TOareaFan

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Well we certainly did not get the amount of new built rental post the 1991 rule change that we were expecting but we did get an ever so slight increase. The problem with this policy (and most policies I guess) is that they never happen in a vacuum. What we saw post 1991 was the start of the our biggest ever condo boom (maybe the largest in North American history....but that is just a "feel").....and anyone looking to build purpose built rental found themselves competing for sites with condo developers....and given the near immediate profits available to condo developers and the ever growing nature of those the much slower profit model for purpose built rental made it impossible to compete for sites.....stated another way, rents had to catch up and condo profit models had to slow down for there to be much building of purpose built rental.

Ben Myers created and tweeted this graph which confirmed what many of my clients were telling me......development yields on purpose built rental buildings had finally reached the point where a) they were better off building rather than buying existing stock and b) they could put a land price into their models that allowed them to be competitive with the condo guys. Many have told me since the rent control announcement they are "revisiting" their models.....that does not mean they will definitely slow/stop their plans to build...but they are looking at things like...building smaller units (they turn over faster and, therefore, are freer from rent contols) and starting with "much higher" day one rents.....both are things that the government may call "unintended consequences" and may regret.

View attachment 108114
Just as a follow up...news out today shows a decline in purpose built rental proposals since the new legislation introduced....I would caution anyone drawing conclusions from such a short period of time...but it is a bit worrisome.

http://www.metronews.ca/news/toronto/2017/07/10/purpose-built-rentals-slow-in-gta-says-report.html?cq_ck=1499536984261
 

innsertnamehere

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its been 2 months.. how can they measure it with statistical certainty in that period, yet alone measure trends in a meaningful way? Toronto probably sees no more than 2 or 3 new rental building starts every month AT MOST, how is two months of lower than average starts statistically significant at all? Without even looking at that report, i'm doubtful. Its just way too early to know the effects.
 

TOareaFan

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its been 2 months.. how can they measure it with statistical certainty in that period, yet alone measure trends in a meaningful way? Toronto probably sees no more than 2 or 3 new rental building starts every month AT MOST, how is two months of lower than average starts statistically significant at all? Without even looking at that report, i'm doubtful. Its just way too early to know the effects.
that is what i was meaning about using short term starts....it is a very "lumpy" statistical sample.....so you have to be real careful...it may (or may not) be that this first drop in a while is purely co-incidental.
 
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