Toronto’s remarkable international accolades and the annual influx of immigrants to the city have a lot to do with our skyrocketing condominium sales over the past few years.
Of the approximately 250,000 immigrants to Canada each year, about half choose Toronto, where jobs, public transportation and amenities are at their doorstep. International purchasers range from immigrants wishing to fulfill their dream of homeownership to investors who recognize the value in owning here. Buyers from other countries extend to those who travel to Toronto a lot and want a home base in the city with the conveniences that come with having maintenance looked after.
What all of these purchasers have in common is an appreciation for Toronto. We are in the global spotlight because of our robust economy, peaceful democratic society, spectacular world-class amenities – plus our incredible condo choices at amazing prices. Yes! In spite of rising prices, our condominiums are still underpriced by world standards. Plus, our low Canadian dollar has a silver lining to it when it comes to real estate sales. Our new homes and condominiums are absolute bargains for Americans who wish to invest. The surge began out west and is making its way to Ontario.
Interest from both American and British real estate investors is stronger than it has been in the past decade. With the realization that the Canadian dollar will eventually recover, investors are taking advantage now, while their financial investment buys them more. Many Americans already own properties in Ontario, particularly Muskoka, and a lot of them are doing major renovations, again making the most of their investments while our dollar is still low. Even foreign investment in our commercial sector is burgeoning.
People often ask whether international buyers are different when it comes to their purchase decisions. In a nutshell, yes, especially when it comes to attitudes toward condos. Buyers from other countries accept apartment-style living more, as it has been a mainstay in major cities around the world for decades. Even with our explosion of interest in condos here, we still have work to do in educating Canadian buyers about the benefits.
For some international buyers, a Toronto pied-à-terre may be a compact one-bedroom suite, while others insist on a spacious penthouse for the same purpose. Many foreign purchasers look for luxury, and we have seen a huge demand for upscale condominiums. These buyers want large principal rooms for entertaining, plus exquisite building amenities such as exercise facilities, chic party rooms and guest suites. They are also interested in energy-efficient building characteristics because of the energy crises they see happening in their home countries. Developers here are using a variety of “green” building practices and features to lessen the impact on the environment.
Earlier this year, BBC Radio declared Toronto the most diverse city in the world, and the Culture Trip website (theculturetrip.com) lists Toronto among the 10 most multicultural cities in the world. As this trend continues, condominiums remain the new home option of choice in our great city!
BARBARA LAWLOR is president and CEO of Baker Real Estate Incorporated and an in-demand columnist and speaker. A member of the Baker team since 1993, she oversees the marketing and sales of condominium developments in the GTA and overseas. Keep current with The Baker Blog at Blog.BakerRealEstate.com.