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

Update on Pinnacle’s 1 Yonge

For those readers who have been following our blog, you may remember a post a couple of months back regarding the future of 1 Yonge.  Formerly a parking lot, the land was put up for sale and Pinnacle International almost immediately expressed their interest in purchasing it.

The current state of the site.

Pinnacle International recognized the spot as a piece of land that is full of potential and possibility, and recently submitted to the City its development plans: a comprehensive set of buildings at the foot of Yonge Street.

The potentially landmark project has an ideal location- right in the heart of Toronto’s stunning waterfront. Despite some small concerns of traffic congestion that the project may bring, it seems as if the public generally accepts and encourages this development.  The area at the base of the city, which is what many tourists first set eyes on, should reflect our growing architectural confidence and accomplishments.  What better way to show off our city than with a state-of-the-art residential and retail complex designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects?

The design, first revealed a few months back, consisted of five new buildings, one as high as 98-storeys.  Now, a new and improved plan includes the development of a sixth building, the tallest now reaching only 88 storeys.  Below are a few rendering designs by Hariri Pontarini Architects, displaying plans for the base of the complex.  These renderings also include images of the extensive landscape provided by NAK Design Group.  Up-to-date renderings of the full complex are not yet available.

The Pinnacle proposal features extensive retail frontage on the first two floors of the complex, above which a sheltering glass canopy will hang, deflecting wind and rain away from the base of the towers. The images above show partial views of five of the six towers planned for the site. Spanning a large city block, Pinnacle plans to divide the site in two, complete with an eastbound extension of Harbour Street, one block past Yonge to Freeland.

On the south block, in the right background of the image above would be the Toronto Star building, extended skyward with new floors added to the top of the existing structure, plus a new 40-storey office tower (hidden behind other towers in this image), and a 70-storey tower with a hotel component, the bottom portion of which is seen in the image above, and new since the initial plans for the site.

On the north block would be four residential towers of 75, 80, 80, and 88 storeys, three of which can be seen in the above photos. The residential towers will surround a tree-lined courtyard with access to the complex, which will be a shared space by pedestrians and vehicles alike (who says you can’t accommodate both?!).

In total, the development represents 6.3 Million square feet of space. It will be connected via the climate-controlled PATH pedestrian network to Union Station and beyond, linking 1 Yonge to the city’s and country’s largest transportation hub. Surrounding sidewalks will provide a wide Yonge Street Promenade connecting all the way from the Financial District to Queens Quay (pictured below) and Lake Ontario.

Anson Kwok, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Pinnacle International said this of the company’s development plans:  “Pinnacle International is looking forward to creating a monumental residential, office, retail and hotel destination that will stand the test of time. Our vision includes a variety of mixed-used buildings within a master planned community setting for this vibrant waterfront location.”

What do you think of the plans for 1 Yonge?  Is the plan put forth by Pinnacle International a worthy one?  Let us know what you think!  And stay tuned as we keep you up to date on all development progress!

Sources (images included):

GTA Realtors Q2 Condo Report Released

On July 18, 2012, the Greater Toronto Area REALTORS released their Q2 Condo Report. Here’s a summary of the data, as well as commentary by our very own Broker of Record, Kaive Wong.

Resale Market

There were 6,345 condominium apartment transactions during the second quarter of 2012, down by 2.6 percent compared to the 6,609 transactions reported in the second quarter of 2011.

Meanwhile, new listings for condominium apartments were up by 19 percent in comparison with the second quarter of 2011.

The average price for the second quarter condominium apartment sales was $342,212, a 3.2 percent increase when compared with the 2011 average price.

Rental Market

There were 4,771 condominium apartment rental transactions during the second quarter of this year, which reflects an increase of 3 percent when compared to last year’s 4,629 transactions.

Meanwhile, new listings for condominium apartment rentals were up by 15 percent in comparison with the second quarter of 2011.

The average rent for a two bedroom condominium in the second quarter of this year was $2,088, representing a four percent increase over the second quarter of 2011, which had an average rental price of $2,016 for a two bedroom condo.

Kaive’s Commentary

The media has finally been able to talk down the condo market with a slight decrease of 2.6 percent compared to a strong year in 2011.

There is definitely more supply of listings available in the market given that so many buyers, while they do want to purchase real estate, are now trying to time the market and perceive that there may be potential price reductions in the near future.

The problem with that scenario is that they must continue to rent and are now facing some of the highest rents ever recorded for downtownTorontocondos.

Even though it is only July, and we are not quite into the peak demand for September occupancy, we are already seeing properties rent not in days, but in hours. Furthermore, many rental properties are receiving multiple offers.

Therefore, the cost of the buyers’ market timing is significantly higher rents versus taking on five year mortgages at below 3% (I can currently offer a 5 year fixed mortgage at 2.94%).

This again, as I previously mentioned, is great news for landlords who can rake in top notch rents and be extremely selective on tenants.

I have been pounding the table for investors to act quickly to acquire rental properties that, in all likelihood, I can have leased prior to them even closing on the property and generating double-digit returns on equity.

Given the increased supply of sale listings, landlords can strike a bargain on a purchase deal, yet still achieve record level rents for their property.

The Q2 Rental Market Report from TREB agrees with my findings, with rental transactions up 15% year over year and rental rates increasing significantly faster than inflation.

If you are interested in dipping into the market, call me at (416) 929-1660 or contact me via email at I’d be happy to assist you with all your real estate and mortgage needs.


NEW: FAD Condominiums

FAD, Fashion District Condominium, is one of the newest condominium projects in Toronto and it is coming to Spadina and Queen. Luckily for you, Kaive Wong and Axon Capital have access to the VIP Broker Preview Event; and let us tell you, FAD condo is all its hyped up to be and more.

Building & Location
Spadina and Queen West is a desirable location and up until now, did not have many condominiums to offer north of Queen. This district fuses the garment district along Spadina with the trend setting fashion scene of Queen West, known for textile stores, vintage boutiques, and more recently trendy stores such as Urban Outfitters, Zara and Kiehl’s. Emerging from this amalgamation is the fashion forward residence FAD: FAshion District Condominium, which carries style at its core.

FAD will boast some of Toronto’s most beautiful, never before seen views. FAD Condominium will stand at 17 stories and house 186 residences. These range from its 435 square foot studio, which also features a 34 square foot balcony, to its 910 square foot two bedroom units, which feature a 50 square foot balcony. There are studios, one bedroom’s, one bedroom plus den’s, two bedroom’s, two bedroom plus den’s, and three bedroom’s available.

Design Team
3rd UNCLE design, a Toronto based design firm, along with Wallman Architects, is the design team behind FAD Condominium. 3rd UNCLE design is nationally and internationally acclaimed, being the recipient of numerous awards, most recently of which was the Best of Canada Design Award by Canadian Interior Magazine. Wallman Architects has years of experience and its impressive list of clients include projects such as Tridel and Minto.

Suite features & finishes
The residences at FAD Condominium will house floor to ceiling warehouse style windows with either sliding or swing doors opening onto the balcony and terrace. The kitchens will feature custom designed cabinetry available in a selection of finishes with quartz surface countertops and porcelain tile backsplash. The suites will have engineered wood floors throughout, with porcelain floor tile in the bathroom and ceramic floor in the washer/dryer room. In addition, each suite will be pre-wired for a personally encoded suite intrusion alarm system. There will also be an electronic communication system which will allow residents to view guests waiting in the main entry vestibule on their televisions.

Axon Capital currently has floor plans for the residences at FAD Condominium and we will soon be getting pricing. If you are interested in buying a suite at FAD or would like more information, please contact Kaive Wong at (416) 929-1660, or via e-mail at He will soon be attending the launch and the VIP Broker Pricing Event, and can keep you up to date with this project and provide you with new information as it becomes available.

Register with us now to be first in line to buy a unit at FAD Condominiums!

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    Posted May 11th, 2012.