Every once in a while, I like to spend four hours researching data for a single blog post.
A handful of condos in downtown Toronto have a whopping ten percent or more of the units currently available for sale. The following blog might shock you…
I often muse about certain buildings in Toronto where there is so much inventory on the market that it makes a sale near-impossible.
Well on Wednesday afternoon, as I sat on my porch in Idaho after a glorious round of golf, I wondered what it would take to make a list of all the over-supply in the Toronto condo market and try and determine the most saturated buildings.
I spent the better part of four hours going through MLS, and the results were shocking.
I wasn’t looking for the sheer volume of units for sale, but rather the percentage of units in a given building.
How can you evaluate whether 30 units for sale in a building is a lot? There could be 300 units in that building, thus 10%, or there could be 600 units in that building, thus only 5%. Therefore, I’ve listed these condos in order of percentage of units currently available for sale.
I should add a disclaimer here:
1) These numbers are as of Wednesday afternoon, and there may have been some sales or new listings.
2) Data on existing buildings was confirmed through two sources – www.urbandb.com and www.skyscraperpage.com. It’s very tough to find out exactly how many units are in a given building (for example, one source might say 422, one might say 432), but I’ve done my best to confirm all the numbers involved.
So without further adieu, I give you the most over-saturated buildings in the City of Toronto!
#1 – Victory Condos at 478 King Street West
There are currently a whopping 34 units for sale in this building, and the building itself is not that large – 175 units, approximately. I checked three sources, and two others had this building at 175 and 177 respectively, so there is no glaring error here.
19.4%. Can you imagine? Just try and put that in perspective. My building has 330 units, and that’s like saying 65 units are currently available for sale. I think we usually have 3-4 at any given time when the market is very busy, but they sell within a week.
Can we assume that Victory Condos was primarily bought by investors?
One in Five. One in five. I can’t even begin to fathom…
#2 – James Cooper Mansion at 28 Linden Street
There are 41 units for sale here and only 270 units in total in the building.
It was a neat idea – they took a historic Toronto building and kept the structure while building a tower atop. They’ve successfully done this all over Toronto – my building at 230 King Street is a classic example, and there are plans to do the same with the building across the street at what is being called “King Plus Condos.”
But it looks extremely out of place, as the above photo clearly demonstrates.
Prices of the 41 units range from $289,900 to $799,000.
#3 – Parade at 15 IceBoat Terrace
This one was a bit difficult to assess, since “Parade” will consist of FOUR towers, but the largest tower of 38 storeys is currently registered as TSCC 2157, so these aren’t assignments of existing agreements – these are resale condominiums!
I’ve been making fun of the name “Iceboat Terrace” for quite some time, and I’d say that the market for this building is currently ice-cold. Pun FULLY INTENDED!
And how come this rendering shows so much green-space, trees, ponds, and walkways? Where’s the Lake Shore and Gardiner?
#4 – Neptune 2 at 209 Fort York Boulevard
I’m glad this one made the list because I’ve often told anybody that will listen to completely disregard any real estate in CityPlace or with a “Fort York” or “Fleet” address.
There are 48 units currently for sale at Neptune 2, and only 380 units in the 16-storey tower. Prices dip as low as $184,900 for bachelors, and the highest price unit currently available on the market is $548,800.
Neptune 1 at 215 Fort York Blvd, for your information, has 22 units on the market out of 481, or a mere 4.6%.
I guess it’s just a simple case of “Which building in the worst condo cluster in Toronto was just registered and has investors fighting for the few buyers crazy enough to want to live here?” Right now, it’s places like Parade, Neptune, and the next one…
#5 – West Harbour City II at 21 Grand Magazine Street
“Grand Magazine” is yet another stupid name I have enjoyed making fun of, and with 10% of all existing units in the building currently available for sale, perhaps residents should get a second job selling magazines just in case their investments plummet like a Greek bank stock…
I’ve never been a fan of this area, since living in between the Gardiner and Lake Shore doesn’t really appeal to me, so I think it’s going to be twice as difficult for the market to absorb all this inventory. First, you have to find people that actually want to live here! Second, you have to convince buyers that there’s nothing wrong with the fact that 32 units are for sale in this 325-unit building.
#6 – M5V Life at 375 King Street West
I actually called and left a message with a sales agent at this project a few weeks back, and that was AFTER I had emailed them. I never heard back. Perhaps that’s why they have TWELVE units on MLS right now from the developer alone.
There are 30 units listed for sale at the moment, and this project has 304 total units in the building.
M5V drops a dime with a dirty ten percent of the building up for grabs.
There’s nothing wrong with the location – it’s prime, right on King at Blue Jays Way. But I’m not convinced that this area can support the prices that units are trading for, no better explained by the very next building on the list…
#7 – Festival Tower at 80 John Street
It’s not like people were just given occupancy here; in fact, that 9.0% figure would have been a whole lot higher if I’d compiled this list a few months ago!
I’m not sure if the Monroe unit is attracting more buyers than the Nicholson, but any way you put it, I wouldn’t pay more to live in a building because they’ll pick up your drycleaning from your Dicaprio suite.
There are 41 units for sale at 80 John Street, and 458 total in the building. Many of these units have been for sale for over three months, and many of them have the “PC” icon next to the listing for “Price Change.”
Oh well, it’s not like they’re building another tower next door.
Oh, wait…..Cinema Tower……right…
8.4% – “Luna 1″ at 10 Capreol Court (27 units for sale out of 320 total in the building)
8.2% – “Panorama” at 38 Dan Leckie Way (33/401)
7.4% – “Bliss and Liberty Towers” at 55-59 East Liberty Street (39/528)
6.1% – “Luna Vista” at 25 Capreol Court (23/378)
5.2% – “Quay West @ Tip Top” at 90 Stadium (19/364)
So there you have it, folks!
Am I the only one laughing here?
Imagine listing your condo for sale and competing against FORTY other sellers. It’s happening all over the downtown core right now!
So having read this, I think that readers will develop one of two stances on the subject – if they take a stance at all.
1) Those who live in these buildings and/or these areas will stand up and say that they don’t care about the volume of inventory because they LOVE where they live! They love the pool at Grand Magazine and the spaghetti tree at Capreol. They feel bad for all the snobs who don’t want to live in their building, and they’re sure that once the inventory is absorbed, buyers will rue the day they passed up the chance to buy here!
2) Those who have been predicting the real estate apocolypse for seven of the last seven years will use this as evidence that the Toronto market is over-saturated and the implosion will take place in T-30 seconds.
What do I take away from this data?
Well, I’ve long maintained that there is “good real estate” and “bad real estate” in Toronto. When the market is red hot, you can buy some crappy unit in CityPlace off floor plans in pre-construction and flip it a few years later to make money. But if and when the market turns, you’ll want to be holding “good real estate.”
I don’t think that any of the buildings in this blog post constitute “good real estate.” Ironically, I think that Victory Condos has the best shot down the line of being “good real estate,” since it’s a small-ish building (12 storeys) and in a great location on King West. But until that massive glut of inventory gets absorbed, we can’t even have this conversation.
I think Festival Tower will hold some appeal to those that want to be “high and mighty” but can’t quite get there, although the impending construction of Cinema Tower worries me.
I also think that the area just south of Bloor & Sherbourne is beginning to change, and the James Cooper Mansion has potential, if only there weren’t 41 units for sale there.
As for the rest – it’s all junk.
It’s all CityPlace junk and I’ll argue this till the day I die, or until Concord Adex has me taken out.
It should come as no surprise that HALF of the condos on this list are in CityPlace or the surrounding area of Fort York (which is still considered CityPlace by some), and it certainly is no coincidence.
Now – for those of you that are reading this and happen to own in one of the twelve buildings listed above, please use the forum below to squish your sour grapes…