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Toronto's luxury condos a bargain compared to other world cities

There's almost always a story behind the story, and this is the story behind Tony Wong's "High expectations for condo craze" feature article that ran on the front page of the Saturday Star business section a couple of weeks ago.

Builders have been saying for years that Toronto buyers are getting incredible bang for their buck by international standards, but it took a BILD-organized highrise housing study tour to London, England last November to get the data to prove it.

Over the course of the three-day tour we visited dozens of condo developments and participated in seminar sessions on planning, design and, of course, the London market overview, which was provided by Nick Jopling and Adam Challis of CB Richard Ellis Hamptons International.

Jopling and Challis revealed a graphic showing prime and super-prime condo prices in major cities around the world and invited our group to fill in the blanks for Toronto, which we did. Tony Wong got the scoop, but he didn't tell all; so here's the rest of the story.

Toronto's prime and super-prime condo prices starting around $800 and $1,400 per square foot respectively are lower than the other 11 cities studied: Paris, London, Tokyo, Moscow, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, New York, Los Angeles, Sydney and Monte Carlo.

International investors will pay anywhere from two (Sydney, Paris and Dubai) to eight times more (London) for prime condo space in those cities. Put in dollar terms, the 750-square-foot unit that would cost you $600,000 here would cost you $1.2 million in Sydney, Paris or Dubai and $4.65 million in London.

The comparable multiples for super-prime product range from 1.8 times in Tokyo, to 3.7 times in Los Angeles,to a whopping 8.4 times in London. Taking that 750-square-foot unit again, it would be $1,050,000 here, $5,180,000 in L.A. and $8.85 million in London.

As Jeanhy Shim of ThinkBUILD consulting commented, "Toronto's luxury condominium market is a bargain compared to other international cities, even though the quality of the product is comparable.

"Toronto is more affordable to more people than any other international city, which is what makes it so unique. Look at any other city in the world and there is no way young professionals who have bought condos in downtown Toronto could afford to own something comparable in any other city," Shim added.

Of course, if you're not an international investor with deep pockets, you might be more interested in how Toronto compares to other cities within Canada, and here again, we compare exceedingly well.

George Carras of RealNet Canada Inc. studied similar-size one-bedroom-plus-den units in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. Our local 633-square-foot condo came in at $288,900 or $456 per square foot compared with $357,900 or $528 per square feet for a 678-square-foot unit in Calgary and $461,000 or $739 per square foot for a 615-square-foot unit in Vancouver.

Whether your perspective is national or international, affordability is very much a relative issue; however the best value seems to be right here in Toronto, particularly when great building and suite design, amenities and high standard specifications are factored in.

You can find the global condo price comparison chart on

Posted on Monday, September 15, 2008 at 02:48PM by Registered CommenterElaine in | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference

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