#GTAHomeHunt is a weekly series from the Star that gets into the details of real estate listings in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. Have a tip? Email us at email@example.com
Price: $ 374,900
Neighbourhood: Crescent Town — East York
X-factor: At 740-square-feet, this is a spacious one-bedroom unit. It’s recently renovated with new appliances, laminate flooring, tiles and backsplash in the kitchen, fresh paint and more. Compared to similar-sized properties in downtown Toronto, it’s going for an “amazing” price, according to our expert, real estate agent Othneil Litchmore.
Additionally, amenities include a gym, sauna, indoor pool, a squash racquet court, a party/meeting room, concierge and underground parking.
So, what’s the catch? We asked Litchmore to find out.
Why is it priced this way?
The demand for this condo at 5 Massey Square isn’t high, Litchmore says. Yes, it’s situated just a five-minute walk from the Victoria Park subway station, but the building is about 50 years old, and it’s in a low-income area, he adds. Stressing the low demand, Litchmore notes that a different unit in the building, which is also spacious, has been on the market for 28 days.
“The whole point I’m trying to make is there’s not a rush of people coming for these condos,” he says.
While a condo of the same size in downtown Toronto would go for about $ 600,000, other one-bedroom apartments in the same area are listed for about $ 350,000 to $ 370,000. The price of this apartment is on the slightly more expensive end of the neighbourhood average.
The unit listing price is also almost $ 30,000 higher than it was in June, before renovations. Old listing photos show a dark apartment, with outdated appliances and ‘70s era bright-red carpet. Odds are, Litchmore says, that most other homes in the building are not renovated. “As it appears currently, (this) is probably one of the nicer units.”
Since the building is relatively old, it uses electric heat, meaning the homeowner would rely on separate heating and AC units which they would have to install at one of the unit’s windows.
The owner of this condo would also run the risk of paying increasing condo fees as the building continues to age and wear down.
“Stuff’s gonna start breaking down, and the condo corporation needs to be able to pay to replace them,” Litchmore says, adding that fees typically rise in regular increments. Currently, monthly fees for this unit sit at $ 567.
Any other tips for those looking at places like this?
“You’re probably going to have to sacrifice on size” to find a one-bedroom condo outside this neighbourhood Litchmore says to first-time buyers looking for something affordable.
For the purposes of buying a home, waiting for three or four years while market prices rise, and then selling it, they will have more luck outside Crescent Town. In this East York neighbourhood, prices will increase by relatively very little, he says.
“Something like this is probably for a single person that’s a bit older,” Litchmore says. He adds that someone on a single income at a mid-level job making $ 60,000 to $ 80,000 might find this apartment to be a good fit.
“Somebody that’s comfortable living in buildings, probably already comfortable with the neighborhood, wants to stay in a neighborhood and is just looking for a place to call their own.”
Correction — July 29, 2021: The headline on this article was edited to correct that the condo is in East York.
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