Here’s a fun game, if you feel like playing.
Let’s start a thread in the comments section for “How Long Have You Been On TRB?”
I would love to hear from you guys, if for no other reason than to know how much we’ve grown together over the years. I recognize the names in the comments section and some of them go way, way back. This blog started in 2007, and McBloggert, who only posts a couple of times a year, is one of the first to comment back in 2008. That’s a long, long time.
In those years, I recall Potato, and Devon. I remember both Davey the J as well as Franky B. And don’t forget Krupo. I have a memory like a steel trap. I might not read all the comments, but once I see a name, I don’t forget it.
In the mid-2010’s, readers like Boris were regulars. Both Housing Bear and Long Time Realtor were staples, but seem to have mysteriously disappeared.
How about the current regulars? Kyle has been around for the better part of a decade, if I’m not mistaken. Appraiser since at least 2013. Verbal Kint, depending on which handle he’s using, since around that same time as well. Condodweller, Professional Shanker, GinaTo, Marina, Julia are also names I’ve known for at least five or six years.
Apologies to people I’m not naming, as I’m just going off the top of my head and trying to think about who’s been around for a while.
So if you’re willing, I’ll post a thread, and you can play along. Or not. Totally up to you, I just think it would be cool.
Why am I wondering how long people have been around?
Well, because there have been a handful of what I’d call “controversial” posts over the years, and the long-time readers might remember them.
“Problems At The Printing Factory Lofts?” from January of 2014 was a doozie. I’ve probably mentioned this two-dozen times since then.
“The Foundry Lofts” from June of 2010 was the first massive blow-up in TRB’s history. Letters and emails to my broker, to TREB, to RECO, and all because I gave what’s called an “opinion.” Imagine that? The President of the United States can make ghastly, wild, deceiving claims on the daily, but I can’t write about which buildings I like and don’t like…
Those are the two that really stick out to me, although I do recall posting about how a random cold-caller wanted me to show him a rental listing on Christmas Eve, and the readers ripped me apart for not “doing my job.” You can read that one here: “What Did You Do On Christmas Eve?”
But there’s another post, a rather obscure one, that for some odd reason was deemed oh-so controversial by the readers:
August 9th, 2011: “The Most Over-Saturated Condos In Toronto”
This one caught me by surprise, folks. I had absolutely no idea that the readers would take such offense to me providing market statistics.
But they did.
And it went on for days!
I was in Idaho when this drama went down. It seems like forever ago. Back when I didn’t even bring my laptop with me! I just used the Dell that was at the house. Nowadays, I cradle my laptop in my arms on the airplane like it’s my baby. And my actual baby comes in a close second…
Read the post if you have time, and perhaps the comments too.
The idea behind the post was quite simple: I would look at all the condos in the downtown core, see how many units were for sale, and then divide by the number of units in the building to come up with a “percentage of building for sale.”
It was wild!
#1 on the list was 478 King Street West, aka “Victory Condos,” which had a whopping 34 units for sale in a building with only 175 units. Imagine that? Imagine 19.4% of a building for sale at one time?
#2 on the list was 28 Linden Street, aka “The James Cooper Mansion,” with 41 units for sale out of 270, or 15.2%.
Just for perspective, let’s round out the list:
#3: 15 Iceboat Terrace – 12.8%, 55 of 432
#4: 209 Fort York Bouleard – 12.6%, 48 of 380 units
#5: 21 Grand Magazine Street – 10.0%, 32 of 325 units
#6: 375 King Street – 9.9%, 30 of 304 units
#7: 80 John Street – 9.0%, 41 of 458 units
#8: 10 Capreol Court – 8.4%, 27 of 320 units
#9: 38 Dan Leckie Way – 8.2%, 33 of 401 units
#10: 55-59 East Liberty Street – 7.4%, 39 of 528 units
So how is that for perspective?
We’re sitting here in November of 2020 talking about the state of the condominium market and how things are looking less than stellar, to say the least.
I’ve written quite a few articles lately, on different subjects, which underscore the plight that many condo-sellers experience out there today.
But look at the stats above.
Is there any way that the market in 2020 is anywhere near what it was when I wrote this post?
I spent the last week combing through the downtown core looking for buidlings with double-digit listings. Why double-digit listings? Well, in my mind, that’s a lot!
But here’s the irony: we’ve accepted the 2018, 2019, and early 2020 condo market as normal, so when we look back at this post from 2011, or consider the condo market where it is now in November of 2020, we feel that these represent outliers, when in fact, they may not be.
Think about what the condo market was like in February of 2020.
A new listing would come out at 95 Bathurst Street for $499,900, probably worth in the high-$500’s, but that was the prevailing listing strategy at the time. This new listing was not only the sole listing in that building, but it was one of perhaps a handful in the area that week.
So with only 4-5 new listings for $499,900 units, and demand for such condos at an all-time high, that silly little condo would end up with 18 offers, and it would sell for $625,000.
That happened every single night in January and February, and through the first half of March.
On March 16th, 2020, I was reviewing offers on a Regent Park listing. Priced at $499,900, we received 13 offers, and sold for $625,000. The very next day, a “state of emergency” was declared in Ontario, and the world, and our market, changed forever.
Fast-forward to November of 2020, and instead of seeing that one unit for sale in a Regent Park building, there are eight. And instead of having thirteen offers from thirteen buyers, the seller will be lucky to get thirteen showings inside of the first two weeks. He or she may only get a handful.
That’s how our market has changed from February to November, and as a result, we’ve gone from seeing zero or one condo up for sale in a building to seeing five, six, or ten.
So with that said, which buildings currently have the most units for sale?
Absolute, or relative?
I mean, “Ice Condos at 12 and 14 York Street have a whopping forty-six units for sale, but in two buildings, with 1,343 units combined, that’s only 3.4%.
So while on an absolute basis, 46 units might seem like a lot, I think it makes more sense in the context of a discussion about market saturation to look at relative bases.
I looked about five hundred downtown condos, and there were 87 that had 10+ units for sale. Those made it into my spreadsheet, and I then found the number of total units for sale in each building to come up with a relative percentage.
Some buildings may have had 10 units for sale, but on a relative basis, it was next to nothing! For example, there are 10 units for sale at “Musee” at 525 Adelaide Street West, but since there are a whopping 1,311 units in the building, that’s only 0.8% for sale.
I won’t spoil the surprise here, so let me tell you this: the 2020 version of this theme contains data that is nothing like the 2012 version. You’ll note that right at the onset with the #1 building on the list…
#1: 22 Leader Lane, aka “King Edward Private Residences”
11 units for sale
143 units in building
This doesn’t surprise me in the slightest.
I’ve been in a handful of the units here and I’ve never seen a layout that I liked. Apologies to anybody that owns in here, and I’m sure your condo is amazing. But it seems to me that the nicer units are the hotel suites, and the dog units, ie. the ones facing the interior courtyard (which is filled with pigeon shit and the kitchen staff smoking cigarettes) were turned into condos and sold in pre-construction to investors.
The maintenance fees on these units are huge too.
11 units for sale isn’t a lot on an absolute basis, but the fact that 11 out of 143 are for sale today is somewhat telling.
I feel as though many units in here are owned by investors (if not a majority…) so perhaps with AirBnB dying off and rental prices declining, we’re now seeing units flood the market?
#2: 1121 Bay Street, aka “Elev’n Residences”
11 units for sale
146 units in building
Another boutique building springs to the top of the list, and this seems to be the trend. You might think perhaps a grotesque, 600-unit building would see more units for sale, but to place near the top of the list, we’d have to see 40+ units for sale, right?
While “Elev’n Residences” has a silly name, it’s relatively unspectacular otherwise. It’s a 17-year-old building at Yonge & Bloor, a popular rental spot, close to U of T and the hospitals.
Why is 7.1% of the building currently for sale? If I had to guess, I’d say coincidence.
#3: 320 Richmond Street East, aka “The Modern”
18 units for sale
343 units in building
Now, this is interesting.
I see no reason why this particular building should have so many units for sale all at the same time. As with 1121 Bay Street, I might simply chalk this up to coincidence.
This is an 8-year-old building on the northwest corner of Richmond and Sherbourne. It’s historically been a great value play, since King Street condos cost more than Richmond but are only two blocks north, and if you’re okay with this location, it’s a newer version of 313-323 Richmond Street which is directly across the road, and doesn’t contain the Tim Hortons which attracts many of the undesirables from Moss Park.
Immediately east of this condominium, there is a Honda dealership which is going to be a condominium development, no doubt about it. I would have bet money that there would be a condo on site by now, but the land has traded hands a few times and nobody has broken ground. Perhaps this is a reason why a few people in building are looking to cash out? Half of the units available for sale are east-facing…
#4: 20 Richardson Street, aka “Lighthouse Tower”
15 units for sale
300 units in building
Here’s our first unregistered condo on the list.
I’m actually surprised that there aren’t more units for sale in here.
Guess how big the largest unit in the building is? 863 square feet. Do you THINK this building was targeting investors in pre-sales? Yup…
#5: 197 Yonge Street, aka “Massey Towers”
33 units for sale
695 units in building
If you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you’ll remember a blog post I did back in 2012 simply called “Bird Poop.”
Here are some pictures of the once-beautiful, once-proud heritage building from 2012:
That was 2012, and you can see in the first photo the advertisement “Coming Soon From The Mid $200’s.”
Here we are in 2020, and the condo is complete and 33 units are for sale.
This might only be 5th on the list, but these are near impossible to move right now. The prices are ludicrous, with some units at $1,300 per square foot without parking or locker, and how is a seller expected to move a unit, say, for $699,900 when there are eight other units for sale at the same price?
Tell me I’m being unfair, but I don’t sell pre-construction condos for exactly this reason: that people pay tomorrow’s price, today. In this case, it wasn’t even tomorrow’s price, since these prices weren’t really attained.
From here, it’s a whole lot of the same.
#6: 225 Sackville Street – 12 of 282, 4.3%
#7: 170 Bayview Avenue – 14 of 332, 4.2%
#8: 80 John Street – 15 of 378, 4.0%
#9: 390 Cherry Street – 13 of 328, 4.0%
#10: 215 Queen Street W – 10 fo 256, 3.9%
Consider that in 2012, the #10 building on the list had 7.4% of units for sale, but in 2020, there’s only one building that can top this.
I find this fascinating, considering the feel out there in the downtown condo market is saturation, and yet we’re nowhere near where we were in 2012.
Since 2012, prices have obviously risen substantially, so obviously, the level of saturation back then failed to have a negative effect on the market. To be fair, prices were a lot lower on an absolute basis back then, and even with higher interest rates, I think affordability was greater.
Whether or not the level of saturation that exists today will continue into 2021 remains to be seen.
But either way, this is worth monitoring.
Now, what is the level of saturation in the lease market? That’s another story entirely…Back To Top Back To Comments