Ah. The lake. The views. The entertainment. The food. The shopping. The inspired public spaces. These are the reasons we love Toronto’s Waterfront Communities. This highly desirable neighbourhood is the ultimate in city chic, close to everything high-end and exciting. You can’t be closer to the perfect urban life than here. Also known as the Island Neighbourhood, this is a community where many a hopeful Toronto home buyer sets their sights on living a vibrant lifestyle. Here we offer everything you need to know about buying in Toronto’s Waterfront Communities to help you live your best life.
Where are Toronto’s Waterfront Communities?
Toronto Waterfront Communities is bordered by Bathurst Street in the west, the Don River on the east, Queen’s Quay to the south and Front Street to the north, placing you smack dab in the middle of it all.
Toronto Waterfront Communities Development
Waterfront Communities is considered one of the largest urban redevelopment projects in the GTA. There are about 2,000 acres of prime real estate undergoing complete revitalization. As more and more mid to high-rise condos reach for the skies, buyers are chomping at the bit to get a hold of one of these high-demand units.
Although the area is saturated with condos under 800 sq. ft., the TOCore Plan mandate is helping to provide more homes with two bedrooms or more. As a result, the area will start to attract more families. Although schools are quite limited in the area, the Ontario government announced a new “vertical school” is being built on Lake Shore Blvd. E., at Yonge. Known as the Lower Yonge Precinct Elementary School, it will provide education for 445 additional students in the area.
What Types of Homes are in Toronto’s Waterfront Communities?
At first glance, this appears to be a condo jungle of towering buildings with little variety. But upon closer scrutiny, you’ll find there are some unique opportunities. Both conversion and purpose-built lofts offer an urban home that combines old-world architecture with edgy industrial designs. Exceptional mid-rise boutique buildings are tiny-home-charming. You’ll still find townhomes and a small, very high demand assortment of historic row houses on streets like Draper, Wellington or Clarence Square on the western most edge of the area.
Do you love Toronto as much as we do? Check out these other great community blog posts right here:
What Amenities are Available at Toronto’s Waterfront Communities?
Waterfront Communities is close to pretty much any Toronto amenity you need. If you’re looking for the ideal dining experience, be it casual or upscale, there’s always somewhere to eat nearby. If shopping is your addiction, credit card threatening shopping is steps away at local boutique shops, the Spadina Fashion District, and edgy Queen Street West. Sports fans can walk to Scotiabank Arena or Rogers Centre and go hoarse rooting for their favourite team. Entertainment is also a breeze with venues and theatres featuring world-class concerts and shows minutes away. Harbourfront is home to ongoing events and exhibits at the Power Plant, while you can walk to art galleries in the Distillery District, Bay of Spirits Gallery in Chinatown, or Brookfield Place and TD Gallery of Inuit Art in the Financial District. Of course, a quick subway ride gets you to AGO and the ROM.
All the Conveniences
If you fancy yourself a gourmet chef, winey or top-shelf spirits maven, you’re steps away from St. Lawrence Market and the LCBO’s latest flagship store on Queens Quay. There’s also a Loblaws for your staples, so if you tend to dine out a lot or dabble more in simple meals like toast and frozen dinners, you’re all set. Since so much is within walking distance you might never need to do anything other than hoof it. However, you’ll be happy to know regular buses and the 509 Harbourfront streetcar provide easy links to Union Station, Bathurst or Spadina. If you have further to travel, Union Station is your portal to GO trains and buses. Drivers have the Gardiner right there and can easily head north on the Don Valley. If you travel often for business, you can hop a flight at Billy Bishop Airport.
Buying a Waterfront Communities Condo
When buying a condo in Toronto’s Waterfront Communities there are a few considerations:
Common Element/Maintenance Fees
Keep in mind that while some of the older condos are right on the waterfront and offer the best views, they also tend to have the highest condo fees. This is because older buildings require more repairs than a building under five years old. Common element fees cover maintenance of the common areas, property management, capital projects, etc., and are based on the amenities, building age, and size of your unit. They have a major impact on your monthly expenses so must be calculated carefully along with your mortgage payments.
New Build Condos
New build condos are an exciting prospect in this revitalized area. They are bought directly from the builder, but it’s best to have a real estate agent involved in the process. Here are the pros and cons of new build condos:
- No risk for bidding wars
- Customization and upgrades
- Lower common element fees for the first several years
- Never been lived in
- Staggered deposit payments over 120 days
- Time to save for a higher down payment while the condo is built
- Higher property transfer tax exemption threshold of $750,000 if you qualify
- You’re stuck buying from plans or 3D virtual renderings
- Interest rates can rise over the two to five years it takes to build the condo
- You pay higher deposit rates of 15% to 25%
- Common element fees are sure to rise
- HST adds to the cost although rebates are available for first-time buyers on properties under $400,000 (which is highly unlike in today’s market)
- Uncertain move-in date
Thinking about a pre-con investment? Read our previous blog post about it here.
Resale condos are bought from the current owner with the assistance of a real estate agent. Here are the pros and cons of resale condos:
- You know exactly what you’re buying
- Earlier move-in date
- You can lock in an interest rate with a pre-approved mortgage
- Smaller deposit of just 5%
- No HST
- Often, but not always more affordable
- It can be less up-to-date and have worn, tired amenities
- Common element fees tend to be much higher
- Prices are subject to offers and possible bidding wars
- A lower property transfer tax exemption of $500,000 if you qualify
Selling a Waterfront Communities Condo
There isn’t much difference between selling a Toronto Waterfront condo and selling in other areas. However, because these condos tend to be in high demand you might find that even in less seller-focused markets you can see over asking and/or multiple offers. The trick as with any sale is to work with a Waterfront Communities real estate agent who knows the area and target buyer. They can price your condo based on recent local sales and the condition of your condo. Because you’re competing with a wide range of newer units, you can’t get too cocky assuming buyers will pay top price for a tired, older unit. A real estate agent will make sure your condo is staged to hit the right notes with buyers looking for a home in this Toronto hot spot.
If you want a real estate team who knows and loves Toronto’s Waterfront Communities, The Christine Cowern Team’s got you covered. Give us a call at 416.291.7372 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to work with you!