Real Estate

Micro-Condos in Toronto

I think the micro-condo trend may increase condo prices across the board. We’ll gradually get used to the $700/sq. ft. and it’ll radiate outward throughout the downtown. If you spend 16 hours of your time at work and usually eat out, I can see how this makes sense. And if you only come to the city occasionally for business, micro-condos also make sense. But I don’t want one for myself. Check out the video, 6 minutes 25 seconds (sorry, I was unable to turn off the ad at the beginning) – these apartments look like fake 3-D spaces, functional but not really intended for humans. But I won’t judge if you want one. To each his own.

As real estate prices rise, demand is growing for affordable downtown living in Canada’s biggest cities. The solution may be to shrink the amount of space you buy. Smart House Condos is a new joint development by Malibu Investments and Urban Capital at the corner of Queen Street and University Avenue in downtown Toronto. Units start at $227,000 for a 300 square foot unit. Terry Lustig, development manager at Malibu Investments says micro-condos are popular with people who want to live downtown, but not spend all of their money on a mortgage. She also believes they will be a growing trend in Toronto. But how much bang for your buck are you getting? According to research firm Urbanation, new condos in Toronto had an average price of $539 per square foot in the second quarter of 2013. A unit in Smart House will cost around $700 per square foot. As the saying goes, in real estate it’s all about location, location, location. While the units may sound small, they’re designed to save space. The bed folds down from the wall, it has a combined washer-dryer, and extra counter space comes in a drawer. Amber Kanwar, host of The Business News, got a tour of the space-saving design.

In September, I spent a week in Muskoka (cottage country, for those not in the know). It was breathtakingly beautiful and so peaceful. (Internet access was sporadic and Starbucks is at least 1.5hrs hours away, but that’s another story.) There were lots of really nice homes in the area and I wanted to see how much they cost. To my shock, a mansion can be had for $300K. A mansion! It opened up lots of possibilities – until that moment I never though of living anywhere other than in a city. I started picturing that kind of lifestyle… and it made me very sad. I couldn’t stand the thought of living out in the woods. I like running away there sometimes. But  I want the energy of the city around me, even though most of the time I whine about the noise, smell, annoying people, and frankly, I don’t even take advantage of all that the city has to offer. And so I remain, in this dissatisfied state, living in a regular-sized condo downtown. Below is a snapshot of life in Brazil.