Not big at all, as you probably would have expected!
I had a request for a follow-up to Monday’s blog, and I think the topic is prudent given where this market is heading.
With the City of Toronto encouraging condo builders to include at least 10% three-bedroom units in their new developments, what are those units actually going to look like?
Let me show you…
I remember the first time I stepped into a “new” 3-bedroom condo in downtown Toronto.
I had been in many 3-bedroom units before, usually in older buildings, where three bedrooms resulted in a 2,000 square foot unit.
But as the market continued to appreciate past the “dip” in 2008, well into 2010, and beyond, it seemed as though 3-bedroom condos were disappearing. Not only that, when they were built, they were incredibly small!
In 2012, I went into a 3-bedroom unit at 300 Front Street West, which was 840 square feet.
I’m pretty sure I wrote a blog about it, and perhaps took some photos. Overall, I just couldn’t believe how small the “living space” was.
The kitchen appliances were all miniature, which was ironic, given this was being marketed as a “family-sized” condo.
There was essentially no room for a kitchen table, and if you wanted one, you’d be limited to a 2-person love seat in the “living room.”
The position of the two bedroom and hall closet – three doors, meant that it was very tough to put a television anywhere.
In my mind, the only people for who this space worked would be three students, and probably international students at that, who have lower expectations about space, and who prefer to spend every waking hour in their bedrooms.
The idea of a “family” living in this unit was silly.
Last Friday, I was part of a panel with a couple of other real estate aficionados for an upcoming feature in Toronto Life. One of the topics we covered was the ever-shrinking size of condominiums, both at the 1-bedroom, and 3-bedroom level.
I balked at the idea of an 840 square foot, 3-bedroom condo “for families,” but one of the other panelists noted that in other countries around the world, they make far more use, out of far less space. In fact, 840 square feet might be luxurious to some families, in some other countries.
What does that mean for the future of Toronto real estate?
With where freehold prices are going, your typical “family” will have to consider high-density living if they want to stay in the city. Fast-forward ten, fifteen, or twenty years, and living in high-rise, high-density, multi-residential will simply be a given for most families in the city.
So let’s take a look at a few 3-bedroom floor plans in new condos.
And as was the case yesterday, I’m trying to find the smallest plans offered.
After several days of combing through the archives, here are my top five:
Condo #5 – “Plaza Midtown” – 50 Dunfield Avenue & 25 Holly Street
Plazacorp Developments is bringing two towers to Yonge & Eglinton, 34 and 27 storeys respectively, with a few different 3-bedroom floor plans.
This 825 square foot layout is as good as you can ask for in such a small space.
It’s a true “square plan,” with little wasted space (I don’t love the hallways, but it’s necessary given the bedroom wall), and no pillars!
The HVAC in the living room really impacts the space (note the chair blocks the window), and the middle bedroom is laughable.
A 12 x 10 “master” bedroom, eh?
Condo #4 – “Karma” – Yonge & College
Karma offers a variety of small condos, both of the 1-bedroom variety as we saw on Monday, and the 3-bedroom variety as well.
This “master” bedroom shows 14 1/2 x 11 feet, but note that the 14.5-foot measurement extends behind the door.
They’ve got my favourite feature in there, however. That pillar! Sidebar: any guesses as to my favourite Toronto Blue Jay?
That pillar isn’t quite as bad as some we’ve seen, since they’ve made the space work with their teenie-tiny love-seat, but in reality, I wonder how large a couch you could fit there.
There’s one thing missing from this floor plan that you might expect to see in most 3-bedroom condos.
A second bathroom.
Condo #3 – “Karma” – Yonge & College
Just when you think Karma has struck once with an 819 square foot, 3-bedroom condos, it strikes again!
Here’s an even smaller 3-bedroom unit – 803 square feet.
Also with only one bathroom.
Also with an awful pillar.
Note the upside-down L-shape of the middle bedroom. I can’t imagine what that feels like, with a bed around the corner.
Condo #2 – “The Britt” – Bay & Wellesley
Here’s where things get fun.
Because above, you had a 3-bed, 1-bath, in 803 square feet.
Here, we have a 3-bed, 2-bath, in 797 square feet!
How in the world can they add another bathroom, and subtract square footage?
Just make everything else smaller! Including all the miniature, doll-house furniture that’s not to scale.
How much room do you think the dining chair is to the bedroom wall?
What does a 6-foot kitchen feel like? How big is that kitchen, really? With miniature appliances and no cabinetry, would you be storing food and plates under your bed?
Condo #1 – “INDX Condos” – 70 Temperance Street
Last, but certainly not least, I give you the unbelievable.
A 740 square foot, 3-bedroom condo.
Now, you’ve seen it all!
You thought it would be hard to dip below 800 square feet, right? After seeing the two small spaces at Karma, did you ever think you’d see something dip so far into the 700-range that it’s actually closer to 700 than to 800?
I can’t get over it.
And the worst part is – there’s a giant pillar in the floor plan! Look at that big, black dot in all its glory, just killing your floor plan.
The fridge is essentially in the hallway and the television isn’t in the eye line of the people sitting on the couch.
The middle bedroom is 8 x 8, and has no closet. It barely fits a jail-sized bed.
There’s no hall closet.
And I can’t imagine how little kitchen cabinetry there is.
Folks, wherever you’re reading this blog post, stop for a moment, and look around you. What are you holding? What are you wearing? What are you doing? That coffee cup in your hand – how many of those can you fit in this condo? Those winter boots you’re wearing – what will you do with them during summer when you can only fit two pairs of shoes in this entire condo. How many shirts, pants, and jackets can you store in this unit? What about a suitcase or golf-clubs? Forget about that – how about a damn gym-bag?
The reality is, a 740 square foot, 3-bedroom condo would be impossible for most people to live in. And I say that knowing full-well that people in other areas of the world do live in spaces like this, or even smaller.
What I mean is that it’s impossible for Torontonians to live in, and I can’t see who would actually live in this space, and how.
If a person turned one of the bedrooms into a storage locker, then okay.
But then the “need” for a 3-bedroom condo would cease to exist.
So who, in 2018, is buying a space like this to live in?
I can’t answer that. Because I have absolutely no idea as to the answer…