I’ve been doing a lot of leases lately, and I’d consider myself to be in the know in terms of pricing and location.
While I don’t always agree with what people want, I can certainly help them find what they are looking for.
But here is a rental “deal” that I just wouldn’t feel comfortable doing…
Pictured above is “Quad Lofts” on Brant Street in the trendy King-West area.
The last time I was outside this building, had nothing to do with real estate.
I was late in getting to The Brant House, which is your typical leather-jacket-convention on Friday and Saturday night where the Toronto socialites hang out. I arrived at 12:30AM, and there were probably 150 – 200 people in line. I walked right past the line, and went up to the first doorman I saw. I asked him, “Who is in charge here,” and he pointed to a guy holding a clip-board.
I should have known!
I approached “Billy” and asked to speak with him privately. He exited the velvet-roped area, and I took him aside. I told him that I don’t believe in waiting in line, and that I have to get into the club ASAP. I told him that my girlfriend was inside and it was her birthday, and I would be in huge trouble if I didn’t show up. I then said, “Do me this solid, will ya bro,” and shook his hand. My hand happened to contain a $20 bill, and suffice it to say that the 150 – 200 people in line couldn’t understand why I walked in the club only 30 seconds after arriving.
I was really only going to meet a few buddies, but the made-up girlfriend story combined with the $20 clearly won the “door-man” over.
A good door-man can make $1000 on a Friday/Saturday night if he so chooses. Anybody who waits in lines in Toronto either doesn’t know anybody important enough to get inside, or doesn’t understand that you PAY to get into Toronto night clubs. It’s just a fact of life.
I never liked The Brant House, and likewise, I have never liked Quad Lofts.
I find that the prices people pay for units at Quad Lofts is tantamount to the suckers, like me, that pay to get inside a night club like Brant House only to line up to pay $8.00 for a drink that costs $5.50 at the bar next door, and is made of $0.75 worth of booze and mix.
Such is life…
I understand better than anybody how real estate is valued, and that location combined with the factors of supply and demand will dictate why one unit costs more than the exact same unit in another building.
But I’ve always had this imaginary asterisks beside Quad Lofts in my mind.
I just don’t understand this one.
Put the sales aspect aside for a moment, and let’s focus on the listing that moved me to write this blog piece in the first place.
A typical 1-bedroom unit in a downtown Toronto condominium will usually start at around $1400 including the cost of parking. I leased a unit to a girl last year at 39 Parliament for $1300 with parking, but that was an anomaly. The average price for a typical 600 square foot, one-bedroom unit with parking is about $1600.
This is ironic, considering that 2-bedroom units with parking start at around $1800. It’s always been cheaper to have a roommate…
About ten minutes ago, I logged on to MLS and browsed today’s new listings. I have several clients right now who are looking for 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom units in the $2200 – $2500 price range, which I would say is the average range for 2-bedroom condos, and I happened to see this unit at 19 Brant Street, aka Quad Lofts for $2500/month.
“PERFECT!” I thought to myself.
But upon closer inspection, I realized this unit would not work for my two young renters.
Well, because this listing for $2500/month at Quad Lofts was for a ONE-BEDROOM UNIT!!!
“Squeeze me? A baking powder?” says Mike Myers in Wayne’s World.
“Excuse me? I beg your pardon?” says an astonished David Fleming from his desk at 290 Merton Street.
$2500 for a 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom unit in downtown Toronto? Normally this kind of outrageous price for that kind of space would be reserved for Yorkville. I guess I didn’t get the memo that the people who run Brant House now run Quad Lofts…
So, what do you get for your $2500? Well, you get a 680 square foot unit with an east-view of the city and the CN Tower. All the utilities are paid for. But my favorite part, for your $2500 monthly cost, is that you get the right to pay an extra $250/month for parking! That’s right, the rent does NOT include parking!
So, add the cost of parking, and you are effectively paying $2750/month for a 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom unit! Oh, and the bathroom only has a shower, no tub.
I just rented a HOUSE in The Annex for $2800/month, where four guys will live comfortably for the next year.
How do you compare this to a 1-bedroom unit for $2750/month at Quad Lofts?
You can’t, in my mind. You just can’t.
I don’t understand how somebody could agree to pay $2750/month for a 1-bedroom at Quad Lofts when they could get a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom unit in virtually ANY building in downtown Toronto for the same price. Not only that, they could get a 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom for $1400, or even an entry-level 2-bedroom unit for $1800!
Is it the area and the neighborhood that people are after? Is it living next door to Brant House? I first went to Brant House four years ago before the area had become uber-snobbified, and I can’t believe all that has changed since then! Toronto is great city for night life, as it offers something for everyone, but it seems that one particular trend has changed.
It used to be that the surrounding infrastructure, bars, restaurants, and the like were created according to the people that inhabited the area. Now, it seems that the entertainment and social scenes are dictating what type of residential living is going to be built into the area, and that the prices will follow accordingly!
Well, if somebody wants to pay $2500/month and add $250 for parking to live in a 1-bedroom unit at Quad Lofts, then who am I to tell them differently? People feel happiness in different ways, and pleasure is derived from many different sources.
A lot of people come to me and ask me to help them find something that I just don’t agree with, but in the end, I can only advise them to the best of my ability, and the final call is theirs.
But if somebody told me they wanted to live at Quad Lofts and had absolutely no qualms about paying $2500 to do so, I’d probably have to drown my sorrows in a $14.00 martini at Brant House just to put my mind at ease…