April 22, 2015

Point 2 Homes – Toronto Condo Market

Toronto Condo Market On Fire, Experts Say

The Toronto real estate market is on fire, both when it comes to prices, and in terms of sales. Exciting new trends in the condo segment are shaping up, and seasoned agents are more important allies than ever. We’ve reached out to Kristen Duern and Dylan Donovan, who specialize in condos and the luxury segment. They’re both sales representatives for the Chestnut Park Brokerage, and they were kind enough to give us the inside scoop on Toronto’s evolving market.

Kristen Duen offers insight on the luxury condo segment of the Toronto market.


Point2 Homes: Tell us a few words about your role as a real estate professional. What does your job entail? What do you love most about your job?

Kristen Duern: I have been involved in real estate for more years of my life than not. In my 32 years, I have worked in some capacity in real estate for more than half my life. I was introduced to the industry when I was young, as I had a family member working for a developer. That gave me the opportunity to start with small jobs. I have worked my way up to where I am today.

My focus over the last 10 years has been on the luxury condominium sphere, where I have successfully managed and sold one of the most prestigious hotel-condominium buildings in Toronto, the Shangri-La.

I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet many incredible clients from all over the world. I have gained a breadth of knowledge and experience to understand each step of new development, international business dealings, and the intricate workings of the Toronto real estate market.

P2H: Have you spotted any interesting market trends recently in Toronto?

K.D.: We are in a very vibrant market, which is changing by the day. Each sale in Toronto is setting a new bar. With the lack of inventory of homes in the city, we are witnessing the condominium market rival houses. It used to be rare to see multiple offers on condominiums, now it is a common occurrence.

In the luxury marketplace, we are seeing larger high-end condominiums selling faster and for higher prices as well. The lack of inventory of large homes is pushing buyers to consider condominium living; however, their lifestyle requires large Two-Bedroom-plus-Den or Three-Bedroom suites.

There are not many buildings in Toronto which cater to these buyers, as most consist of small units, with inadequate room sizes. Buildings such as the Shangri-La, the Ritz Carlton, and the Four Seasons are some of the only choices which provide spacious suites, assisting in an easier transition from a home.

As part of the Chestnut Park team, Dylan Donovan has a front-row perspective on Toronto market trends.


P2H: Did you notice a preference for buying in the suburbs, and if so, what are the reasons for that?

Dylan Donovan: A fair amount of the clients we work with are migrating from the suburbs to the downtown core. After many years living in the suburbs, they are switching their priorities to be more lifestyle orientated.

Living downtown allows more opportunity to enjoy a wider variety of entertainment and cultural offerings. Being closer to the ballet, opera, theatres, sporting venues and restaurants has become a big component of why we have people moving downtown.

P2H: Are your clients interested in buying homes that need restoration, or do they prefer buying renovated homes?

K.D.: Typically, clients purchasing at the top end of the market are looking to find something turn-key and move-in ready. They would rather spend more on a property in which they can visualize moving right in, instead of having to worry about the added time and worry of designing and renovating. Many of our clients walk into a property and want to purchase it as is, including all the furniture, art and accessories.

P2H: Did you notice a rising interest in any property type in particular?

D.D.: One of the biggest demands we have now is for larger condos that offer a comparable amount of space to living in a house, but without all the maintenance and hassle that comes with a single-family home.

Our clients who are downsizing to a condo are focused on prioritizing an increased lifestyle standard, but are used to a certain amount of space, which can be tough to find in many buildings throughout the city.

P2H: Renting or buying? How can your clients decide what’s the better option for them?

D.D.: Both renting and buying can be great options. Often we find that clients unsure of the amount of space they might need start out with renting. This way, they determine the amount of space they need before making the decision to buy.

For clients coming from a house, it can be daunting moving into a smaller condo, but more often than not we find they overestimate the amount of square footage they need. Living in a downtown condo is more focused on lifestyle, as opposed to individual space, and people spend more time outside of the property than they might in a suburban house.