It wasn’t very long ago that a condo tower was automatically associated with a 416 area code. It seemed that only Toronto could justify the lifestyle, density and transit infrastructure that condo living was predicated on. That is all changing. No longer just a big city standard, condos in the suburbs are rising almost as fast as people are buying them.
We all know the marketing image – almost directly out of a New York City-based movie – of young, hip and stylish people stepping out of the subway, or maybe racing along 5th Avenue on their bicycles to make it to work, or perhaps hailing a vintage NYC yellow cab to get to the local bistro or café to enjoy fun times with their equally cool and fashionable friends and family.
Living in a condo meant living an urban lifestyle, connecting through transit, where the city is your backyard, and public amenities are your playground.
Only Toronto could match that New York image, and so if you met a condo dweller, you just assumed they had to be a 416-er.
That assumption is no longer valid. Look around today, and you can find condo dwellers with 905, 705, 519 and 226 area codes.
That’s right: across the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton, from Barrie to London, through to Kitchener-Waterloo, Niagara and all the way to Peterborough, you can find new condo developments – and it’s a good thing.
Adding to the housing stock by bringing new housing options into the mix can only help existing and future residents find homes they can afford while staying connected to the community where they live, work and play. Hopefully, apartment renters can become condo buyers, and start building equity for any future housing needs that may come along.
The migration of the condo tower out of Toronto is not by accident. It coincides with the massive provincial investments in transit across southwestern Ontario in recent years, along with local investments made by cities to provide more transit options to their residents.
In 2018, the first subway into the 905 will open, and there are already condo dwellers living across from its station, with a handful of other condos under construction and dozens more waiting to open sales offices in Vaughan. The Region of Waterloo’s ION light rail transit system has already spurred significant condo development, with more to come as it becomes operational. Improved and increased GO rail service has resulted in new condos along the corridor in places like Niagara, Hamilton, Barrie, Milton, Oshawa and Peterborough.
Don’t get me wrong – Toronto is still the condo king in the GTA. Last year was a record-breaking year, with almost 30,000 new highrise homes sold but over 40 per cent of those sales were for projects outside of the 416 area.
Make no mistake, improved transit coupled with reduced lowrise supply and its corresponding escalating housing prices will put more and more condo towers on the market outside of Toronto, meaning more and more people will be able to find a New York state of mind without a 416 area code.