Park It Here!

Houses | May 17, 2010

How much of a premium would you pay to live directly across from a park? 

Is it something that you actively seek, or is a “nice to have?”

After seeing a condo at Chocolate Lofts sell for a premium because it had a slight glimpse of the park, I’m re-evaluating the importance of the park-principal…


See that photo above?

Look at the buffer between those two old people!  God forbid – don’t get too close to eachother!

And as soon as I was finished taking this photo, the old man hit me with his cane…

I’ve been looking at real estate in Manhattan in the past couple of weeks; partly out of curiosity, and partly out of investment interest.

Numbers such as “thirty-five percent” have been thrown around in reference to the market drop of real estate in Manhattan, and I’m wondering what kind of investment a $475,000 bachelor condo would make on the Upper West Side.

What really strikes me about the real estate in Manhattan is how much of a premium is assigned to units that are near Central Park.  And if you happen to live on Central Park West (on the Upper West Side) or Fifth Avenue (on the Upper East Side), you’ll like be paying an extra $100,000 for that very same bachelor condo since it will come with a gorgeous park view.


There is a certain status assigned to Manhattan condos that overlook the park, and naturally that status and prestige translates to the owners of the condos themselves.

While I don’t think that this effect is unique to Manhattan, I also don’t believe it translates to the market in Toronto.

Well, not to the same extent…

Trinity-Bellwoods Park is perhaps the most well-known park in the downtown core.  As I wrote last week in my “Starbucks” article, the Queen West area has become very gentrified in the last few years, and the price of real estate has skyrocketed.

But the highest prices are reserved for houses on two streets, in one particular area.

Houses on Crawford Street and Gore Vale Avenue, between Queen Street and Dundas Street, command huge premiums because they face Trinity-Bellwoods Park.


We’re not just talking about proximity to the park anymore – we’re talking about your front porch directly facing the park!  It’s the view that we’re assigning the premium to!  Being “close” to places has always added value, whether that is TTC access, retail, night-life, or parks.  But houses on Crawford and Gore Vale can claim something that houses on Shaw, Claremont, and Euclid can’t – there are no houses on the other side of the street; no neighbours to look at.  Just beautiful nature right at your doorstep.

Most residential neighbourhoods feature houses on both sides of the street, but Crawford and Gore Value are truly unique.

Think about your cottage and how your view from the back deck looks out at nothing but lake and trees.

The closest you can come to this unique feel in the City of Toronto is looking out over a park, and there sure aren’t a lot of options!

Here’s an (awful) photo I pulled from MLS for a house listed on Crawford Street last year that (tried to) show the front porch and the park:


Brutal photo aside, you get the picture.  It sure doesn’t feel like every other street.

So how much of a premium do you put on the presence of a park?  The proximity might add a small premium, but wouldn’t the clear view and lack of houses on the other side of the street create a massive premium?

Last fall, a house on Booth Avenue in quasi-Leslieville blew our socks off with its sale price.


The house was directly across from Jimmie Simpson Park, and there was nothing to see from the front porch but about 400 feet of green-space; a couple of soccer fields, a dog-park, and a few hundred trees.

Even though Leslieville continues to grow in popularity, and price, the sale of this property on Booth shattered all expectations.

Is it possible that somebody overpaid for the “park-view?”

Possible, yes.  Probable, even more so.

The old adage about land, “They’re not making any more of it” rings true when you’re talking about rarities, but houses located directly across from parks are even more rare.

Because they certainly aren’t making any more parks…

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  1. earth mother

    at 7:34 am

    David — my house faces directly onto a wall of mature trees which are behind the adjacent street’s back yards… a great view of greenery instead of someone’s messy front porch! I didn’t pay extra for it… but I think it’s a bonus feature!!

  2. LC

    at 7:41 pm

    In the downtown core, the calming view of trees and grass is priceless. I would pay a premium to overlook a park….provided it’s not crammed with 10 year olds yelling and screaming playing a game of whatever or just loitering after school and smoking pot.

  3. Adam

    at 8:19 pm

    I think a park should fetch a premium, especially with condos, because you can safely assume that a condo won’t shoot up in front of you in a few years.

  4. Destructicus

    at 10:48 am

    I wonder how people feel about cemetery views. The person I know who has a great cemetery view also has the complete series of Buffy in a box set, so that opinion might be skewed. Do others think “I can’t live here! I’d have to hold my breath every time I walk past the window!”

    I mean… I know a lot of buildings that don’t have 4th and/or 13th floors.

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