Location, Location…..Location?


4 minute read

May 27, 2008

Something isn’t right here.

A condominium unit came onto the market today for $429,000; not a ton of money in today’s market, but also not cheap.

The catch?

It’s only 300 square feet…


I do a lot of preaching, er….complaining, about how superficial people are in today’s 2008 Toronto, and how people are so driven by status, image, and the never-ending quest for material goods.

I dated a girl last summer who showed up at my place with a Louis Vutton handbag, which of course I had no clue what it was.  She told me it cost her $1200, and my jaw dropped.  I asked her how many miles to the gallon she gets on her handbag, and how it’s going to help put her kids through college, and as she dodged my sarcasm, she told me she also bought the matching wallet for $500.

Um, okay.  She paid $500 for a wallet.  Does anybody see the irony here?

You know what else is ironic?  She was 37 years old, and still lived with her parents.  Perhaps if she bought a wallet and bag from Winners, she could have afforded two months rent…

I am constantly dumbfounded by people in this world who strive to achieve their own perception of success or status, from the suckers who order bottle-service at nightclubs, to the people who go to those nightclubs in the first place!

BUT……my level of awe was raised to new heights when I saw this listing for a Yorkville condominium, which offers a bachelor unit of no more than 300 square feet for a whopping $429,000.

10 Bellair Street in Yorkville is as trendy as the name sounds.  “Bellair” is not a coincidence; the name just entices people into paying more money.

The unit for sale shows the room measurements on MLS as 16.14 x 15.16, which is 244.7 square feet.  This is the living, dining, kitchen combined!  I’m assuming the bathroom, closets, and foyer make up an additional 50-ish square feet, and thus we get a 300-ish square foot unit for $429,000.

There is a HOUSE in Leaside right now listed for $419,000 on Sutherland Drive that is a semi-detached bungalow.  This is an absolute steal, and I’ve pitched this idea to every client of mine.  I think the house could be had for as low as $400,000.

When I think about the value of a HOUSE in Leaside on a 22 x 134 foot lot, versus a 300 square foot condo in Yorkville at the same price, it makes my head spin.  Assume you could get the Leaside house for $400,000, versus the 300 square foot condo at 10 Bellair for $429,000, and now you’ve got a house AND a car.

Oh, wait….you wanted the newest “luxury crossover?”  Too bad.  You’ll have to settle for a brand-new, fully-loaded, Toyota Corolla for your $29,000.  Oh, per shame!

My question is this: who is this person buying a 300 square foot condo at the “trendiest” building in Yorkville for $429,000?  What makes this person tick?  What makes this person feel joy?  If it’s a guy, I’m sure he has mirrors all over the condo so he never has to lose sight of himself, and if it’s a girl, I’m sure she walks on Cumberland every single day to “be seen” while wearing her oversized-sunglasses, also dubbed as “The Yorkville Uniform.”

Last year, I wrote about the smallest house in Toronto, which can be seen below:


This house was listed for sale in October of 2007 for $179,000.  The crazy part is, whatever idiot bought this house only did so in order to become “that idiot” that people see on TV, or see mowing his lawn in front of his stupid little house.

Do people really only do things to impress other people, or to be seen?

I would be embarrassed to admit I paid nearly $200,000 for a house on a 7-foot-wide lot (at Dufferin/Rogers, by the way) or that I paid $429,000 to live in somebody’s walk-in closet at 10 Bellair Street.

Are we as a people so starved for attention that we’ll make bad investments and poor decisions with our money?  A friend of mine who makes $28,000 a year working at The Four Seasons goes and orders bottle service at Remmy’s and Hemmingway’s two nights each week!  I should try and sell him this condo at 10 Bellair Street…..then he can tell people he works AND lives in Yorkville!

Ughh….okay, I’ll finish this post with as little opinion (ranting, venting, disgust) as I can…

Small spaces are not uncommon in major metropolitan areas.  Some people just can’t afford to buy a “normal” living space, but they don’t want to rent for their whole lives.  Take this unit below, for example:


This is the floor plan for a bachelor unit in a downtown Seattle condominium development.  The fact that they show you how large a queen-sized bed is on the plans is almost as if they want you to marvel at how small the unit is. 

Think about how small 338 square feet is for a moment, and realize that this combines the kitchen, bedroom, living room, dining room, bathroom, and closets all into one small space that is equal to a medium-sized master bedroom at many condominiums.

The one thing I will say about this unit, is at least the wall in the kitchen gives the “living space” some separation from the rest of the unit.  Still, I don’t think it would disguise the fact that the unit is 338 square feet…

The difference here is that this Seattle condominium was priced at $141,000 U.S. for 338 square feet, and the unit at 10 Belliar Street is priced at $429,000 for 300 square feet.

That’s $417 per square foot in Seattle, versus $1430 per square foot in prestigious “Yorkville.”

Different countries, different economies.  Different cities, different markets.  Different areas, different buildings.

But how can anybody justify paying $429,000 to live in a shoebox in Yorkville?

What is the upside?



A better mailing address?

Perhaps I have a lot to learn about the world.  Or, perhaps I just don’t fit in with those whose only desire, is to fit in…

Written By David Fleming

David Fleming is the author of Toronto Realty Blog, founded in 2007. He combined his passion for writing and real estate to create a space for honest information and two-way communication in a complex and dynamic market. David is a licensed Broker and the Broker of Record for Bosley – Toronto Realty Group

Find Out More About David Read More Posts

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  1. Aaron Wakling

    at 12:01 pm

    Good Blog. I will continue reading it in the future. Nice layout too.

    Aaron Wakling

  2. mba

    at 12:54 am

    Admiring the time and effort you put into your blog and detailed information you offer!

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