When luxury real estate brokerage Engel & Völkers opened their first Toronto office last October as part of the German company's ambitious Canadian expansion, the move signalled the growing maturity of the high-end property market nationwide. Now, with Engel & Völkers' Toronto Uptown brokerage over half a year old, we spoke to owner Ron Amendola about the experience so far. Discussing the state of Toronto's luxury market, our conversation includes a particular focus on one of the company's more intriguing sales projects; the suites at Trump Residences Toronto. 

Ron Amendola, image courtesy of Engels & Völkers Toronto

Toronto's luxury real estate market has experienced significant growth in recent years. With greater diversity in the market-place, there are more options than ever for buyers. How would you characterize these changes? From a buyer's perspective, how different is the market in 2016, as compared to 2010?

A huge portion of these changes are characterized by the increase in foreign ownership of Toronto real estate. People from all over the world are wanting to buy in Toronto more than ever before. Not only has there been a substantial rise in prices from 2010 to 2016, but buyers must act extremely quickly in their decision-making process or they risk losing out on the property they want.

According to a recent report by Sotheby's, the number of high-end units sold has been increasing from year to year (in particular, suites worth over $4 million). What makes Toronto an increasingly attractive destination for high-end condominium living? How are the changes (whether economic or cultural) that the city is experiencing contributing to growth in the market? 

Compared to cities like Hong Kong, Vancouver, and Shanghai, condos in Toronto are reasonably priced. The cultural diversity in Toronto is unmatched, allowing many cultures and ethnic groups to come to work or study here with confidence. The increase in international buyers and new affluent Canadians are essential to the success of the Toronto high-end condo market. A recent study by Canada Mortgage & Housing Corp. of international investors in our Canadian market, stated that 1 out of 10 condominiums built in Toronto's downtown core since 2010 is owned by someone living outside of Canada—and that number is consistently rising.

How would you characterize the long-term growth prospects of Toronto's luxury condo market?

In regards to the luxury condo market and its limited supply of high-end suites, I believe it's safe to bet that these properties will offer a great return on investment. As of now, all signs point to the fact that the Toronto luxury condo market will continue to grow, more specifically, those unique, exclusive units that are distinct from others. 

For projects like Trump Residences, being at the heart of Toronto's growing Downtown is a selling point for potential buyers. Although Downtown living has often been seen as appealing to millennials and younger buyers at the lower end of the market, is the core becoming more attractive for high-end buyers as well? 

Yes, the Trump Private Residence suite’s listing agents, Roman Havlin and Tudor Tomovici, agree that the Toronto core is becoming even more attractive for high-end buyers. It's a beautiful, safe, and lively city with a powerful economy and great quality of life.

A two-bedroom suite at Trump Residences, image courtesy of Engels & Völkers

The Trump Residences and Tower is just steps away from the financial district, Billy Bishop Airport, event venues and more. Its location is definitely a major selling point. I think there is a healthy balance of both millennials/younger buyers AND high-end buyers due to the increased availability of high-end units combined with the allure of city-living.

Living room of the same two-bedroom suite, image courtesy of Engels & Völkers

What attracted Engels & Völkers to the Toronto market, and what have you learned from your experiences here so far? 

As an international, premium real estate brand, we saw Toronto as an obvious market to move into as Engel & Völkers continues to strengthen its presence in premium real estate markets across North America. It’s estimated that 80,000 to 100,000 affluent new Canadians come to Toronto each year, and international buyers come to Canada from many countries including the United States, Iran, China, Singapore, Russia, India, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. There’s a need for high-quality real estate services and international expertise for Toronto’s global clientele, which Engel & Völkers provides. As a global brand, our networks allow us to reach and serve both international and local buyers for the booming Toronto market.


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