by | Feb 23, 2021 | Real Estate, Architecture, Interior Design, Listings for sale

Here’s a question: when it comes to real estate, how much are you willing to pay for uniqueness? Will you go above and beyond market rate, whether that’s buying, or jumping into the Toronto rental market?

Related: Raptors star Kyle Lowry lists his North Toronto luxury home for $5.3 million

This is in a city of cookie cutter boxes in the sky, with some variations. What gets us excited about Toronto real estate are the lower level, boutique luxury condos going up now. These more and more meet affluent buyer’s demand for more living space. The city is transforming for the better. There is lower density savvy designed builds popping up more in our growing tapestry of exclusive neighbourhoods.

Lower rents in luxury builds?

Luxury neighbourhoods where investors bought real estate for investment purposes have seen rental rates go down in part because the pandemic has driven immigration out of the city. Straight-forward concerns in a pandemic world about getting sick have pushed people out to the suburbs.

According to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board, in a January market report, growth in the number of available units for rent outstripped demand, in Q4 2020. A downturn in tourism and the short-term rental market was another reason for that. So has the fact that post-secondary students aren’t renting here, doing their education virtually.

The number of condominium apartments listed for rent during Q4 2020 was up by 131.6 per cent compared to Q4 2019. The average one-bedroom condominium apartment rent was down by 16.5 per cent year over year in Q4 2020 to $1,845 compared to $2,209 in Q4 2019, according to TRREB. The average two-bedroom condominium apartment rent was down by 14.5 per cent over the same time period to $2,453 compared to $2,868.

Click on image to enlarge and view gallery, Images: Open House Media

Look for the market to still favour renters

As the economy strengthens, vaccines roll out more, and immigration accelerates in the GTA, stock that’s out there for rent will be absorbed. Still, the Toronto rental market conditions will still favour renters through 2021, Jason Mercer, TRREB’s Chief Market Analyst, says.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation was saying something similar in their January rental market report, with vacancy rates in the GTA reaching record highs (increased to 3.4%). More specifically, the vacancy rate for two bedroom rental properties was at 2.6% (average rent $1,622), three or more bedrooms at 2.2% ($1,837). Despite higher vacancy, rents remained resilient in the newer primary market, according to CMHC.

Bottom line in all of this, now is the time for renters to come in and push for a better deal.

Click on image to enlarge and view gallery; Images: Scotty Shane

142 Roxborough heritage home

So with this much market uncertainty, that brings us to our original question. If you’re going to rent, what would you pay for uniqueness? Take this apartment at 142 Roxborough St. W., in the Rosedale/Ramsden Park area. These opportunities require renters to scrape a little deeper, and go beyond the market reports.

Spacious and sophisticated design by Asen Vitko, a character heritage home. So it’s new, modern sleek meets old, natural materials, including original, exposed brick. People who seek these types or properties will often pay a premium for them.

This property features nine-foot ceilings, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, 1,050 square feet, and a polished concrete waterfall. Then the “sleek” comes in – contemporary kitchen, heated flooring throughout, Mitsubishi wall mounted, split system air conditioning allowing for climate control of individual spaces, stainless steel appliances. There’s a parking space, even a cool, 100 square foot private terrace.

Character properties can be difference-makers

“Restrictions and lockdowns are fuelling the luxury real estate market in Toronto right now,” says Tamsin Pukonen, sales representative for Sotheby’s International Realty Canada. Sotheby’s is listing the property. “It turns out that being confined to our homes makes us want to switch up our environment and move to a different space. The properties that are getting the most interest are unique, character homes. They have access to private outdoor space.

“Anything out of the ordinary, that gets the imagination going, will peak the interest of people wanting to get out of their house. It’s almost like people are using real estate as a form of entertainment right now. Because there is nothing else to do.”

So 142 Roxborough St. W. is renting for $3,000 per month. The second unit in the building, at four bedrooms, will also be available for rent soon. Certainly when looking at the current Toronto rental market, this one checks that “unique” box. If you’re interested call Tamsin at 416-960-9995.

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