In a busy real estate market, a hot new asset has popped up on the Toronto condo scene known as church conversions. Church conversions are exactly what they sound like, old churches that have been converted into living spaces.
If you’re looking for valuable, artistic, rare real estate assets, keep reading below to learn more about church conversions and why you should consider making that investment.
What are church conversions?
Church conversions are most commonly condominiums, but they also come in the form of full houses, banquet halls or even gyms.
Firstly, obviously, the church is decommissioned and the interior is reconstructed. The developer will often keep the exterior as is or refinish it to look like it once did. Sometimes an additional wing is added to the church to allow for larger capacity. A converted church is a beautiful living space that has the exterior of a church and the interior of a chic condo, with some of the beautiful old details from the past.
Over the past several years, Toronto has evolved from a city where people shuttled in and out to work into a 24-hour-a-day downtown. Toronto has more cranes in the sky than cities like New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle and Boston, according to the Rider Levett Bucknall Ltd. “Crane Index”. According to their Q1 2020 report, most of the cranes continue to be for residential projects, followed by mixed use projects. With so much choice in the Toronto condo scene, you might be wondering what makes church conversions so special.
What sets church conversions apart from other condos?
- Hard Loft. A hard loft is a living space that was once a factory, office, warehouse or some sort of commercial space. Church conversions are considered to be hard lofts. So hard lofts are thought to be interior design and architectural gold when they’re done right. Residential condos are purpose-built from scratch to be living space, not a commercial space.
- Niche and Rare. Condos offerings are becoming a dime a dozen these days. It’s more challenging to really distinguish what you are buying. But how often do you come across an old church conversion? Even better, how often do you find a church that you can live in? They are niche and rare, which makes them more valuable, especially when they’re constructed elegantly. So that means they are a better investment than a regular run-of-the-mill condo unit.
- Unique Features. Because churches weren’t originally built as living spaces, the finished conversion comes with interesting features and unique quirks. For example, you might have arched windows, exposed brick walls, wooden and beamed ceilings or unique floor plans. Regular condo design tends to be more boxy.
- History and Heritage. One of the amazing things about church conversions is the history and heritage of the original space is often preserved. This means there is likely a rich story behind where you live.
Why should I buy a church conversion?
Church conversions are a chic asset to own because of all their rare and unique characteristics. It’s art, from an architectural perspective. For this reason, they’ll usually be worth more and have a higher return on investment.
Another reason comes down to a pleasant living experience. Because church conversions are hard lofts, they’re quieter to live in because of the thickness of the walls. In addition, there is comfort living in an old building because you know it’s already passed the test of time. Church conversions are beautiful buildings to look at, so you can take pride in where you live and the asset you own.
Keep in mind that there are always risks when making an investment, and church conversions are no exception. Churches are old buildings, meaning that your condo fees might be higher to maintain the space. Check out the history of the builder. Some churches also come with graveyards which might not be desirable to live next to. Thankfully, much of these risks can be avoided by performing some due diligence.
Your next real estate investment
If you’re a savvy real estate investor, especially if you are focusing on the Toronto condo market, church conversions are an asset you should consider. They are one-of-a-kind properties that offer luxury living benefits. Keep an eye out for church conversions, as they’re popping up all over Canada, mainly in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia.
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