Sky-High Toronto: Condominium Facts
By Elli Davis, December 19, 2011
Condos in Toronto by Daryl Bruvelaitis
Condos are more popular than ever. As one of my previous articles mentioned, hundreds of condominium projects have been launched in Toronto over the last couple of years and every one of them undoubtedly contributes to the spirit of our city. How should we deal with the rising number of condos being built? What is there to know about condos in Toronto?
A graphic Vertical Toronto recently published in the Star provides answers to these questions. It tells you everything you could possibly want to know about Toronto condominiums.
In order to retain its unique atmosphere and keep up with all the construction and innovation going on, Toronto has undertaken a few steps. First of all, it is essential to recreate one of the most famous characteristics of our city — the neighbourhoods, the Star claims. Creating buildings is simply not enough; the buildings need to connect to the community around them. How can this be done?
Nowadays, very popular shops, cafes, or restaurants at street level help to keep a community spirit alive. Add a few community events and events for children, and the situation improves even more. Green spaces surrounding the building will not do any harm either. In fact, to make space around a condo more pleasant to look at, friendlier and possibly even to hide possible flaws, Toronto’s urban design guidelines advise developers to use some landscaping elements, such as trees or public art.
Perhaps the most common feature of these super new condos is glass. Take a look at River City 2, a hot new project that consists of a few 12-storey glass buildings. If you think about it, however, walking around a huge glass building does not sound too safe, does it? The balconies of some of these condominiums has been known shatter, and the broken glass might hurt someone. The city of Toronto is, however, trying to prevent similar accidents by ordering developers to set up protection around buildings that could possibly be dangerous.
There are also concerns over the lifespan of the windows. In Toronto, many developers use approximately 90 per cent windows as cladding, but if the windows do not have a long lifespan, it is not a very wise idea. According to the graphic, the average lifespan of windows in a condo building is 35 years.
The gathering storm by Dan Dickinson
Storms in higher buildings can get pretty intense. Winds at the higher storeys is a lot stronger than on the ground. In stormy and rainy weather, living on the 50th floor might not be that pleasant, really. High buildings, naturally, have a bigger tendency to sway if there is strong wind.
Lightning protection for high-rises is not a necessity, but the newer condos are usually protected, and some older buildings are considering it to lower insurance risk. How frequently does lighting hit a building? For instance, as the graphic claims, our CN Tower is hit by lightning 75 times a year on average. Not a negligible number, I think.
There are a couple of issues that need to be considered before a condominium development project is launched, the Star states:
- It is important to consider whether the infrastructure will be able to handle the new building.
- The distance between two buildings must not be too small. The city suggests it to be at least 25 metres.
- Efficiency in lighting, walls, and heating and cooling systems is another issue that needs to be taken into account.
- New projects ought to be planned to limit shadows on streets, parks etc.
Three-quarters of new single-family dwellings sold in Toronto since 2000 have been condo apartments. Out of the 150 high-rise buildings under construction in the city, 140 are condominium towers. About 60 per cent of Toronto’s million households live condos. Most of the new condo developments are located in the downtown Toronto and central waterfront area, and in North York Centre. River City 2 or Eau Du Soleil, projects I have written about before, only demonstrate the popularity of these areas.
Small vs. Big
The smallest condominium sold in 2011 was a 301 square-foot suite located at Regent Park. Its price was $166,000. On the opposite side of the spectrum is a condo I have mentioned before. It is the 9,038 square-foot, $28 million condominium located at the northeast corner of Bay Street and Yorkville Avenue.
Sunny Condos by Michael Gil
The average size of a resale condo in the Toronto CMA was 1,052 square feet ten years ago. The average size has fallen over the years to 893 square feet. Downtown, this number is smaller, averaging only 749 square feet. Out of all the condos in the city, 19 per cent are rented, and average monthly rent for a one-bedroom condo in Toronto is $1,638. One of the buildings that will, due to close proximity to the University of Toronto, most likely have a high number of rented apartments is the ongoing project dubbed (as it has no official name) 21 Grenville. I am curious about how high the monthly rent prices there will be.
How many bedrooms?
One-bedroom condos are the most popular. The number of new one-bedrooms being built keeps increasing. Two-bedroom condominiums are less in demand. In spite of the fact that the number of those being built declining, it is still pretty solid. The situation is worse with three-bedroom condos. They seem to be completely vanishing. In the first half of 2011, such condominiums made up for 1.2 per cent of all the condos launched Toronto. The city plans to “consider a policy next year that would require developers to allocate at least 10 per cent of their new projects to three-bedroom condos.” Young families would certainly appreciate it.
General Household Information
Do you realize how many birds are killed just because a high-rise building is in their way? The City of Toronto obviously does. In 2006, it launched the Lights Out Toronto campaign, asking the owners of high-rise buildings to turn off the lights at night and thus hep to prevent the death of birds that could be attracted to the light.
When speaking about animals, we cannot forget about pets. Unfortunately for many animal lovers, pets are not welcome everywhere. In a lot of high-rises, one pet is allowed, but each building is different so check out their policy before considering moving in.
The average Toronto home produces 901 kilograms of waste every year. Almost half of this waste, 47 per cent, is recycled. High-rise buildings do not help with these numbers as their recycling rates are not high at all.
The graphic interestingly compares the average earnings of homeowners and renters, and that is certainly worth a mention. In 2005, the average household income of a homeowner was $107,754. Renters earn significantly less. In the very same year, the average household income of a renter was $46,248. That is a huge difference. Are you surprised?
What is forbidden?
In the entire province, only those living on the ground floor are allowed to hang a clothesline. In most condos, people in the whole building are forbidden to barbecue on their balconies. A balcony is not allowed to be a place for raising poultry or for loud and wild parties. If a party is peaceful enough, feel free to use this extra room! Some balconies are just too attractive not to use them to the fullest. A bright example of this is, I would say, Monde Condos,, the unique balconies of which were designed by the world-famous architect Moshe Safdie, and they will not go unnoticed.