Toronto’s popularity has only grown since then. That same neighborhood is the home of one of 2016’s Coolest Streets in North America according to real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield. While right now rents are only half what they are in other areas of the Greater Toronto Area, they are increasing steadily as demand for space continues to rise. This is a true seller’s market. Rare single-family homes often become the subject of intense bidding wars and condominium towers are half sold before construction even begins.
This rising “cool factor” means that Millennials (and those who cater to them) are a solid source of clients. Toronto is exactly the kind of place most Millennials want to live. It’s a cultural center heavy on unique experiences and locally-owned businesses. Expanding public transit options reduce or even eliminate the need to own a vehicle, a strong incentive to this eco-conscious demographic. Over half the population of the GTA moved there from somewhere else. This diversity translates into a vibrant nightlife and arts scene. The city’s popularity has been boosted by loyal celebrities such as famed rapper Drake, who regularly name drops “the 6” in music and interviews.
The last few years has seen an influx of Millennials to the GTA. In West Queen West, the current “cool neighborhood”, three-fourths of the residents are Millennials. Demand for condo space is high here and only going to get higher. An average household income of over $92K means these newcomers can afford to pay rising real estate costs, so don’t expect them to move out any time soon.
Some investors, especially those who lost money in the American housing market, are wary of putting money into a city with growth rates like those seen in Toronto. Critics label any surge in popularity a “bubble” and have been predicting a crash in the Canadian real estate market since 2009.
In reality, demand is still growing. The inventory of unsold condos is actually shrinking in the face of strong demand. February statistics from the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) show a rising ratio of sales to active listings (meaning more sales and fewer listings). In 2014, the ratio was 40.9%. This year, it’s a strong 69.9% and rising. This proof of the Toronto “cool factor” translating into sales should reassure the nerviest investor.
The GTA market is exciting, but as with anything this potentially profitable, there is as much room for failure as success. Keeping a finger on the pulse of Toronto’s growing international cachet is a solid way to maximize sales and target new clients.
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