Age Before Beauty…

I was nearly drooling when I first saw the pictures of this new $1,595,000 condo in the heart of Toronto’s Entertainment District.

I began to daydream about living there, but then a thought occurred to me:

Would I rather own a house for the same price?

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I would call this “A Tale of Two Investments,” but you can’t only look at this from an investment perspective.

Everybody has to live somewhere, whether it’s in a van down by the river or in a Penthouse in the heart of Yorkville.

Surely we don’t all think with just dollars and cents; and our personal preferences, lifestyles, and life cycles play a part in where we live.

I was checking out the new listings today and I saw this condo on Blue Jays Way.  It looked somewhat familiar, and I soon realized I had actually viewed this condo in person one day last spring when it was first listed for sale.

It’s hard to be professional when you’re walking through a 3000 square foot luxury condo.  How can you not be a little giddy?  I was with another young agent from my company, and she and I fantasized about throwing “sick/wicked” parties in the open concept kitchen/living room that was twice the size of our respective condos.

Then, we saw the patio:

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Is this a patio?  Or is this some new nightclub with a lineup outside the door?

This private terrace is over 800 square feet and the gardens are actually maintained by the property management company!

The unit itself is a 3-bedroom, 4-bathroom condo facing north, west, and east and has clear views of the lake, the CN Tower, and the city of Toronto from the 24th floor of the building.

The upgraded finishes are simply impeccable, and the layout and flow of the unit as a whole is without a single inch of wasted space.

Simply put: I would love to live here.  Who the hell wouldn’t?

But for $1,595,000, there are just so many other options!

For a moment, forget about the option of owning and living in a condo for $295,000, and keeping $1,300,000 for a “rainy day.”

What if you had to choose between this luxury penthouse condominium for $1,595,000, or a house.

Try this one for size:

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Also priced at $1,595,000, this is a 4-bedroom, 6-bathroom house of 3000 square feet above-grade with another 1300 square feet in the lower level – a lower level with eight-foot ceilings!

Located just north of Yonge/Eglinton in the trendy neighborhood home to streets such as Erskine, Sheldrake, and Keewatin, this brand-new home is situated on a 190-foot deep lot and has every luxury a homeowner could be afforded.  Heated bathroom floors, wine cellar; you name it, this house has it.

Let the record show that I would also like to live here…

So how do you decide?

Sure, most of us don’t have the pocket-change to purchase a $1,595,000 property, but let’s just assume for a moment that you had two options, and a choice had to be made.

What are the most important factors weighing on your decision?

In my opinion:
1) Lifestyle
2) Life Cycle

That’s right, investment-aside, it all comes down to who you are and how you live your days on this earth.

More often than not, agehas more to do with it than anything.  I may work uptown, but the “action” is downtown.  This is the heart of our magnificent city and it seems to be your destination for social activities.  For sporting events – Skydome, Air Canada Centre, and BMO Field are all downtown.  For theatre & concerts – Roy Thomson Hall, Molson Amphitheatre, Canon Theatre, Royal Alexandra theatre, and the list goes on.

How about nightlife?  Sure there are bars and social hangouts uptown, but nothing like the “club district” of Adelaide & Richmond Street.  Or for those who aren’t young enough to have glow-sticks, ecstasy, and knives, then think of mid-20’s hot-spots such as College Street or Queen West.

Same goes for restaurants, and tourist attractions such as the Hockey Hall of Fame or the CN Tower.

Young people want to be live in downtown Toronto because it’s where they spend most of their time.  And if they work downtown as well, then all the better.

So what are there not a lot of downtown?  How about schools & backyards, for starters.

When it comes time to plan a family, these are the things you look at.

I don’t know of many “families” that were born and raised in condos, but it has been known to happen.  A young girl who worked at our office last year said she grew up in a condo and went to public school AND high school downtown, and she knows no other way.  She said she had never stepped into an actual house until she was twelve years old.

But most people want to avoid that, if they can.  And it’s why the $1.5M condos are owned by young people who don’t have the faintest plans for a family.

However, on the opposite end of the spectrum are the 55-year-old former family-men who have “been there, done that,” and after living in the house on Sheldrake for 25 years are now divorced with three kids in university.  Now it’s their time to shine, and what’s shiner and says “I’m divorced and have money” like a penthouse with a large outdoor patio?

You don’t see many of these men hanging on to the 4-bedroom houses uptown.

Personal space is a huge concern, and there is such a thing as “too much” or “not the right type.”

The men in the last example might not need the four bedrooms and the 3000 square feet, or, perhaps they DO want the 3000 square feet but they want a 2-bedroom condo with 100-linear-feet of floor-to-ceiling glass in the 2000 square foot living room overlooking the city.

Take a step back for a moment and consider the idea of a young man owning the $1.5M, 4-bedroom house on Erskine Avenue uptown.  Why would somebody his age own this house?  Why wouldn’t he take the $1.5M condo on Blue Jays way instead?

I’m asking why because I don’t actually know of any reasons.  Hmmmm…..maybe somewhere out there is a 28-year-old investment banker who just wants to meet a girl, get married, and start having babies in his $1.5M family home a block from John Wanless Public School.  Maybe….but probably not.

A typical home-owner will go through the real estate life cycle and own as many as 4-5 different types of residences in his or her lifetime.  But when I see a condo like the one on Blue Jays Way for $1,595,000, I immediately assume it will either be bought by a very wealthy young person, or an overly-wealthy, middle-aged divorcee.

After taking personal finances out of the equation, the type of property a person ends up with comes down to the individual’s current lifestyle, personality, hobbies, and interests; and of course where that person is in their “life cycle” both with respect to age and of course in the real estate life cycle – which is a function of both of the above.

So where in my life cycle do I end up with the $1,595,000 condo?

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3 Comments

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  1. I Don,t really care the size of a house, As long as it safe to stay and worthy. thats enough for me. but the place is nice and cool.

  2. Patrick Parkhurst says:

    David, agreed from the perspective of lifestyle and life cycle. But let’s say we DO look at it from an investment perspective — which one do you think is better for a 10-15 year investment horizon? No one is clairvoyant, but it’s an interesting debate…

  3. Krupo says:

    “glow-sticks, ecstasy, and knives”

    Ha ha, nice.

    Ironically I witnessed a conversation along those very lines today – why’d you move out of the condo?…. oh.

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