The CBC has suggested that condominiums could become the default housing option for those who want to live in the core of the city – what it refers to as the “Manhattanization” of Toronto.
Condo guru Brad Lamb – who it should be noted has an interest in promoting the sale of condominiums! – notes that “In New York City, even if you’re an investment banker making $1 million a year, you still can’t afford to buy a house in Manhattan, so you’re buying a condo.”
For condominiums to become a viable option for families, though, more three and four bedroom condos would need to be built. Lamb notes that while he built 30 three-bedroom units (out of a total of 300) in his new King Charlotte project, so far only seven have sold.
Would the “Manhattanization” of Toronto be a good thing? The Grid rounded up reactions on Twitter, which were generally negative. However, US-based Slate.com makes an interesting point – it certainly beats the alternative!
The problem here is that you have to consider the alternatives. One strategy would be for Toronto officials to deliberately set about making the city a worse place to live. They could make the buses and trains run less frequently and pick up the garbage less frequently, and they could use the savings to set giant piles of money aflame on Sunday mornings. That would reduce demand for Toronto living and thus keep single-family homes affordable. Alternatively, Toronto could adopt strict rules against redeveloping single-family homes into multifamily structures. That would create a situation in which even fewer people are able to “remain in the core” since the core would contain fewer housing units.
While there is no doubt that as Toronto’s population increases and the price of houses rises, condominiums will become increasingly viable options for families, the comparison to Manhattan may be a little overstated. Whereas Manhattan is just 87 square kilometers in size, the old City of Toronto occupies a relatively spacious 630 square kilometers.
For a conversation on this issue and others, check out Post City’s Real Estate Roundtable 2012.