Toronto Condo Rentals Q1 2013

According to Urbanation this month, there has been enormous increase of rental transactions in the first quarter of 2013, over 31% from a year ago. This reflects the ongoing demand for downtown condominium living and the slight hesitation of potential buyers from making the commitment to purchase given all the unbalanced negative media sentiment on the condo market.

While some of these buyers are sitting on the sidelines with a “look and see” attitude, they nevertheless require housing, and as a result of this new demand, have been subjecting themselves to higher rental rates. Consequently, it is not surprising to see that rental rates increasing by 10% in the past two years alone. This is also an indication of continued interest in downtown condominium living – especially in the sub-40 year-old urban demographic.

In addition, some potential buyers have been squeezed out of the market due to new CMHC mortgage underwriting regulations, forcing them to remain in the rental market. While mortgage rates remain near all-time lows, landlords are definitely benefitting from lower carrying costs and higher rental revenue. In fact, many of our Axon client investors have now been able to achieve double digit returns on their equity on many of the properties we have acquired for them recently.

Therefore, it is simply a matter of when those potential buyers sitting on the sidelines recognize that once they have a reasonable amount of down payment available, how much cheaper it actually is to buy versus rent given today’s historically low mortgage interest rates. Until then, they will continue to face Toronto’s 1% vacancy rental rate – which has no signs of abating.

While many like to quote that interest rates are expected rise in the future, the amount that they actually do so, given that the world economies are still on the mend, is debatable. I often tell my investors and buyers that if they are really scared of high interest rates in the future, they can always get a 10 year mortgage at less than 4%.

Given this environment, if anyone is looking for an income property, this is one of the best times to acquire given that we have entered a more normalized condo resale market. On the flip side, renters that have some savings available should come forward in trying to find out how they can acquire a property sooner than later and carry it for less than they are paying for rent. Owning property protects the Tenant from unregulated rental increases (on properties built after Nov, 1991), landlord’s asking for their property back for themselves or their relatives to move in, and also from potential disposition by the landlord of the property.

As long as the Toronto downtown condo rental market remains healthy and renting instead of selling remains an option for investors, I expect condo prices to remain stable. Indeed, this is one of those times in the market when the shrewd investor looks at it as a perfect entry point.


If you would like to speak with me about your future real estate investments or switching from renting to owning, please do not hesitate to contact me at 416-929-1660 or email me at



  • Urbanation’s Q1-2013 UrbanRental Report

7 St. Thomas

Located right along the Bay Street Corridor, St. Thomas Commercial Developments is planning a half acre of commercial real estate- a nine-storey 93,000 square foot luxury office condominium.  The development, which will incorporate the new with the old – thanks to the revitalization of 6 heritage buildings – is an exciting new project that will offer its commercial space for sale, rather than simply leasing.   The project will be the first of its kind in the city to offer occupants the option to purchase rather than lease commercial units.  According to the President of St. Thomas Commercial Developments, 7 St. Thomas is “designed to appeal to the business or individual who wants to own their luxury office space in a highly desirable residential neighbourhood in Toronto.”

On the southeast corner of Sultan and St. Thomas Streets, 7 St. Thomas will be close to the nearby Yorkville neighbourhood and the bustling intersection of Yonge and Bloor.  Hariri Pontarini Architects undertook the design of 7 St. Thomas, with interiors by Munge Leung. It is scheduled for completion in 2014.

The Plan

The 7 St. Thomas development site contains a collection of six heritage properties constructed in the 1880’s, all of which have been identified by the City of Toronto for their architectural and contextual significance. The proposed design will revitalize and restore the site’s existing townhomes.

Providing a mix of grade
related retail and office space throughout the complex, the project is unique, as it represents the reintroduction of commercial development into an area which, over recent years, has been dominated by residential development.

The 6 restored heritage buildings along Sultan Street and St. Thomas Street will be incorporated into a new 3-storey podium. This podium, part of a larger 9-storey tower, will wrap around the existing buildings, matching them in scale and proportion. It will use glass and stone in order to contrast and enhance the heritage façades.The tower will be outfitted with undulating fritted glass and feature a frieze motif inspired by elements of the existing heritage buildings.

The Neighbourhood

7 St. Thomas’ prime location means the utmost convenience for business owners.  Central to all the action going on around it, 7 St. Thomas businesses will have the city at their fingertips. Below are just a few of many neighbourhood amenities that are nearby the commercial development.

  • Within walking distance of Toronto’s busiest subway station, Yonge & Bloor
  • Easy access to, the University of Toronto campus and both the Yonge-University-Spadina and Bloor subway lines
  • Directly south of Yorkville’s luxury shopping and world class dining, as well as Yorkville Park
  • Easy walk to the Four Seasons five star spa *insert hyperlink
  • Close to other city hotspots like the Eaton Centre, City Hall, and the Royal Ontario Museum

Owning vs. Renting

7 St. Thomas offers a unique and exciting program of commercial owning, rather than renting.  Why own?  Here’s why, according to the developers:

  • Maintain an ownership/equity position in your place of business
  • Long-term financing available at ‘all time’ low rates
  • Benefit from your equity growing as property values increase over time
  • As  your mortgage is paid down, your equity position grows. Essentially, paying rent (mortgage) to yourself
  • Cost certainty versus fluctuating leasing markets
  • Potential to produce income from your office asset in the future
  • Control your business environment by having more flexibility in making your space fit the ‘culture’ of the company
  • Convenience of direct elevator access to underground parking
  • Term is not fixed or negotiated like a lease
  • No relocation clauses commonly included in leases
  • Flexibility for afterhours access
  • Experience pride of ownership

Building Features and Amenities: Go Green!

The development will have a strong focus on contributing to positive urban environmental sustainability through its various Green features, making it a model for sustainability. These features include:

  • A rain cistern
  • Fritted glass for the reduction
of glare and heat infiltration
  • A new roof covered with low maintenance water efficient vegetation
  • Limited parking structure
  • Large bicycle storage system
  • Close proximity to transit

Pricing (subject to change)

7 St. Thomas will offer Office Suites from 679 to 93,000 square feet, starting at $450,000.

Stay tuned as we update you on the progress at 7 St. Thomas!

Please contact Kaive Wong, Broker of Record, at (416) 929-1660 or via e-mail at for more details.


Doors Open Toronto 2013

Doors Open Toronto is almost here!  For those of you who aren’t sure what exactly Doors Open is- it’s exactly what it sounds like.  Various buildings around the city open their doors and allow guests to peruse and explore free of charge.  Aptly named, isn’t it?

The 14th annual Doors Open presented by Great Gulf offers residents and visitors an opportunity to take a peek behind the doors of nearly 150 architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings across the city on Saturday May 25 and Sunday May 26, 2013.

This year’s theme is ‘Creators, Makers and Innovators’ and features many older buildings that have been redesigned, re-invented and re-purposed into modern 21st century spaces. These buildings host and represent a new generation of imaginative people that think, create and act in a unique and adventurous way.

Since its inception in 2000, Doors Open has attracted more than two million visitors in nearly 600 unique locations across the city. It is Canada’s largest Doors Open event and one of the three largest Doors Open events in the world.  Doors Open is produced by the City of Toronto in partnership with the broader community.

Here are some buildings and nearby condos to check out at this years’ festival:

Arts and Letters Club (St. George’s Hall)
14 Elm Street

Saturday: Not Open
Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Last admittance to building: 3:30 p.m.

Self guided tours of the building will be available with detailed explanation of the interior features by Club members. Visitors will have an opportunity to view the permanent collection which includes several Group of Seven paintings and a wide range of art spanning more than a century. In the lounge visitors will have a unique glimpse into the history of graphic art in Canada in the form of the annual lists of club executive since the founding in 1908. The Lounge and the Great Hall will feature an exhibition of work by Club artists.

Condos Nearby: 9t6, College Park, Shangri-La

Burwash Dining Hall (Victoria College, University of Toronto)
89 Charles St. W

Saturday: Not Open
Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Last admittance to building: 3:45 p.m.

Burwash Dining Hall is at the heart of Vic campus. Visitors are welcome to tour Burwash Dining Hall on their own, or with a guide. Vic alumni and staff will act as tour guides. The architect was Henry Sproatt, who is also responsible for Soldier’s Tower, College Park and the Fairmont Royal York. Harry Potter fans will appreciate Burwash’s resemblance to Hogwarts!

Condos Nearby: One St. Thomas, Museum House, Seventy Seven Charles

Evangel Hall Mission
552 Adelaide St. W

Saturday: Not Open
Sunday: 10:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Last admittance to building: 4:30 p.m.

2013 is Evangel Hall Mission’s centennial year and visitors to our site are encouraged to join in on the celebration!! We will be providing a photographic retrospective on Evangel Hall Mission in our main community area as well as contemporary display of art work made by our residents and our community members. Those who would like a guided tour of the facility are welcome to join one of our many skilled and informed tour guides. On your guided tour you will learn about our essential community programs as well as have the opportunity to meet volunteers, staff and board members who will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. In the afternoon we will be hosting a barbeque in our driveway where you can enjoy delicious lunch and musical entertainment with the proceeds from our bbq going to help fund our organization. Your visit to Evangel Hall Mission will not only allow you explore our building but also give you an opportunity to see the positive impact this organization has made on our community over the past 100 years.

Condos Nearby: 20 Stewart, Fashion House, Six50 King

St. Lawrence Hall
157 King St. E

Saturday: Not Open
Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Last admittance to building: 3:30 p.m.

St. Lawrence Hall is home to Opera Atelier, Canada’s premier baroque opera/ballet company, specializing in opera, ballet and drama from the 17th and 18th centuries. While drawing upon the aesthetics and ideals of the period, Opera Atelier goes beyond “reconstruction” and infuses each production with an inventive theatricality that resonates with modern audiences. Since 1985, lead by founding artistic directors Marshall Pynkoski and Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg, Opera Atelier has garnered acclaim for its performances at home as well as in the United States, Europe and Asia. On Sunday, May 26 at 2 pm, Opera Atelier’s students of the School of Atelier Ballet will be presenting a FREE special performance for Doors Open Toronto called Dance Through Time. The public is invited to visit St. Lawrence Hall’s Great Hall to watch historical dances ranging from Renaissance to Baroque, plus 19th Century Waltzes, Mazurkas, Tarantellas and excerpts from the Romantic ballet.

Condos Nearby: 25 The Esplanade, L Tower, The St. James

For a complete list of buildings to visit this year, click here.


King Blue Condos

It’s been almost six months since Remington and the Easton Group’s King Blue Condos’ VIP Launch last October 2012, so we thought we’d update you on everything that’s been unfolding since.

Last Saturday, you might have missed out on the official public launch of the project, which was a special night.  King Blue Condominium’s developers, Page + Steele / IBI Group Architects, invited retired Leafs Captain and legend, Wendell Clark to greet fans and sign autographed King Blue hockey pucks!

Aside from the excitement that Wendel Clark brought to the event, there were also plenty of plans that were unveiled as well. For instance, the Easton Group has amazing and extensive amenities planned for their upcoming development.

As you probably know, King Blue Condominiums will be a twin-tower mixed-use development at 355 King Street West. Plans consist of a 48-storey north tower and a 44-storey south tower, set atop a podium which will utilize the historic façade of the Westinghouse Building at the intersection of King and Blue Jays Way.

At grade, there will be multiple first-class retail stores, a hotel, and the newest Toronto attraction, the Theatre Museum of Canada. Above, there will be residential units, not to mention amazing five star amenities.  It doesn’t hurt that King Blue is in between two of the liveliest neighbourhoods of our city, with countless attractions just steps away.  The King Street West Theatre and Entertainment Districts of Toronto boast countless restaurants and clubs. The best of live theatre is nearby too.

About the Canadian Westinghouse Building

Built in two stages between 1927 and 1935, this 6-storey, yellow brick building’s north and west façades will be preserved and incorporated into the project. Charcoal-black bricks have been chosen for the new portions of the podium to provide a pleasant contrast with the heritage portion, while terra cotta frames will echo those on the heritage façade. The complex’s pool can be seen below in the pavilion on the roof of the Westinghouse podium.

Theatre Museum Canada

The bulk of Theatre Museum Canada’s space in the complex will be on the second floor of the southern half of the podium, with long windows overlooking Mercer Street and Blue Jays Way. It will be an education and exhibition centre paying tribute to the art of theatre.

Building Features and Amenities

The amenities at King Blue are designed by Munge Leung.

  • Grand Port Cochere Courtyard for pick up drop off
  • The complex will be split into north and south by the courtyard, and will connect to Blue Jays Way

  • Private lobby for each tower

  • 24/7 concierge service
  • State of the art Fitness Centre and Change Rooms
  • Outdoor deck and Pool Bar
  • Rooftop Terrace in  North and South Tower
  • Advanced Security
  • Enter-phone and cameras at all visitor entrances allowing for in-suite viewing through television connection direct to suite
  • Resident key fob access throughout all common areas
  • Convenient parking with cameras in the garage

Rooftop Terrace

  • Rooftop Terrace featuring multiple private seating areas equipped with outdoor fire pits and bar for residents’ use
  • Open and airy, yet intimate
  • Curvy 20 foot ivy wrapped trellis
  • Central seating area features stunningly lit artistic metal arches that soar above a beautiful water feature
  • Landscaping, trees and water features create a magical ambience
  • Fire pits and great city views as a backdrop
  • A lounge and private garden
  • Art gallery

Social Rooms

  • Multi-function Party Room complete with bar, fireplace and kitchen
  • Multi-media Theatre Room

Exercise Amenities

  • Seventh floor swimming pool with adjacent access to outdoor deck
  • Separate male and female change rooms and showers
  • State of the art full Fitness Centre featuring the latest equipment
  • Weight training and cardio areas
  • Relaxing lounge area adjacent to Fitness Centre
  • Yoga Room

Suite Features

  • Secure, solid core suite entry door with dead-bolt and guest viewer
  • 9 ft. smooth ceilings in principal rooms* (with the exception of hallways, closets, bathrooms and foyer at 8 ft., and 43rd, 44th floor suites at 10 ft. in principal rooms)
  • Engineered oak hardwood floors throughout with the exception of bathrooms
  • Floor to ceiling windows with 4” aluminum mullions in living and dining areas offering panoramic views above the urban canopy
  • Solid wood, painted 4” baseboards
  • Rough in for wall mounted TVs
  • All appliances connected and ready for use
  • Thermostat and Smoke Detector
  • Voice communication for Fire Department command room near the suite entrance lobby
  • Directory panel communication via en-suite panel or en-suite land line telephone
  • White electrical services and outlet covers

Gourmet Kitchens

  • Polished granite countertops and Kitchen Island* (where applicable)
  • Stainless steel and integrated (where applicable) appliances including counter top stove, microwave, oven and dishwasher, also included is a stainless kitchen sink
  • Laminate wood cabinetry and glass uppers
  • Glass tile backsplash and polished hardware
  • Undermount lighting

Private Spa Bathrooms

  • High-efficiency flush one-piece toilets with elongated, comfort height design
  • Drop in bath tub with porcelain tile wall as per plan
  • Glass shower stall as per plan
  • Laminate wood cabinetry with polished marble countertops and drop in sinks
  • Top quality hardware throughout including towel bar and toilet paper holder
  • Master en-suite floor finish in honed marble and marble tiles at tub walls
  • Designer vanity mirror including light feature
  • Privacy locks on all bathroom doors


  • Stackable front loading washer and dryer vented to exterior

Pricing (subject to change)

Bachelors from: $247,900
1 Bedrooms from: $331,900
1 Bedroom + Dens from: $347,900
2 Bedrooms from: $454,900
2 Bedroom + Medias from: $518,900
2 Bedroom + Dens from: $551,900
3 Bedrooms + Medias from: $712,900
3 Bedrooms from: $637,900

The finished product will add 807 units to the King West neighbourhood, with an impressive roster of recently completed developments such as Charlie, and M5V.  Upon completion, King Blue Condominiums will add more life to an already vibrant area.

Please contact Kaive Wong, Broker of Record, at (416) 929-1660 or via e-mail at for full details on suites, floor plans, and pricing.