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Buying Real Estate: Should I Buy Old Or New? |

When New Things Seem Old and Old Things Become New

On the eastern edge of Toronto’s downtown core, you’ll find the lower east side. When it comes to buying real estate, it is one of the city’s most in-demand residential neighbourhoods for both home and condo dwellers alike. Although highly sought-after, we have a secret way for you to get in for less…keep reading!


The Neighbourhood

St. Lawrence Market is one of the city’s most cherished and iconic hotspots. Aside from ranking as the world’s best food market by National Geographic, St. Lawrence is always alive with pulsating energy. Conventional grocery stores will be quickly forgotten as you dabble in local fare and meet the farmers and merchants behind the ingredients you buy.  The neighbourhood is packed full of world-class restaurants and exceptional venues for theatre, comedy, and music, alongside long stretches of historical buildings and heritage sites.

Nearby, Corktown is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city starting to take after the market’s dynamic culture. A perfect blend of hip stores, generous green spaces and distinct architecture is what makes this neighbouring hood so covetable. Not to mention the city’s uber-trendy King Street East pocket is nestled within the area, which is booming with heavenly brunch spots, bistros and some of the best furniture shops in town. And, just a little further east, you’ll find the Distillery District. Made up of stunningly restored red-brick industrial buildings, the Distillery District is not only an appreciated departure from city life, but it’s pedestrian-only cobblestone streets call to mind a simpler time when cars were considered a luxury!  


The Prices

At one time, the east side of Yonge was considerably more affordable than the West! While certain pockets in this part of town have battled a less-than-savoury reputation over the years, the area has made big-time progress. This is partly thanks to Corktown, the neighbourhood’s other half.  And gentrification is just starting, with new projects, drool-worthy restaurants, trendy fitness clubs and independent coffee shops constantly sprouting up. Though once considered a far less expensive neighbourhood to purchase and invest in, prices are on the rise. In fact, $1200 per square foot is commonplace for new development! 

This area of town is categorized as C08 in Toronto’s MLS System. If you look at the Index and Benchmark pricing for housing in this neck of the woods, you’ll find the average:

  • Detached Home:  $1.73M
  • Semi-Detached:  $1.37M
  • Townhouse: 737K
  • Condominium: 627K
  • Resale Price per Square Foot: $950 
  • New Construction Price per Square Foot: $1,200+ 
  • Composite Average Appreciation Yr./Yr. =  +5.45%

As market conditions in the GTA continue to tighten throughout 2019, we’re seeing an acceleration in the annual rate of price growth.

While the current pace of price growth remains moderate, we will likely see stronger price growth moving forward if sales growth continues to outpace listings growth, leading to more competition between home buyers,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Chief Market Analyst.

[Source: TREB October Market Watch / 2019]


The What

Prices are predictably continuing to accelerate, developable land is becoming more scarce and the population is growing. All things considering, we’re thinking it’s smart to focus on a pocket of older condominium buildings (over 15 years of age) on the lower east side. In particular, we’re talking about buying real estate that screams value, hollers square footage and cries for attention! 


5 Reasons to Consider Buying Real Estate That’s Old Versus Something New and Shiny

  1. Often, older buildings have maintenance fees inclusive of all utilities.
  2. You’ll find better quality construction in older buildings, such as concrete partition walls for sound transference.
  3. There are more end users (fewer renters), meaning pride of ownership.
  4. Generally, the bedrooms are much bigger with far better storage!
  5. There is greater opportunity to add value to your property over time, with light cosmetic renovations.


10 Buildings That Get You Far More Bang For Your Buck


1. 80 Mill Street

80 Mill Street Condo |

80 Mill Street Condos
Number of Units: 144
Storeys: 723
Building Age: 27
Price per Square foot: $723
Maintenance PSF: $0.65 (inclusive of utilities)  


2. 70 Mill Street

70 Mill Street Condo |

Number of Units: 95
Storeys: 11
Building Age: 21
Price per Square foot: $760
Maintenance PSF: $0.69 (inclusive of utilities)


3. 39 Parliament

39 Parliament |

Parliament Square
Number of Suites: 181
Storeys: 13
Building Age: 19
Price per Square Foot: $870
Maintenance: $0.86 (inclusive of utilities)


4. 330 Adelaide Street East

330 Adelaide Street East |

Imperial Square
Number of Suites: 95
Storeys: 11
Building Age: 18
Price per Square Foot: $825
Maintenance: $0.57


5. 30 Church Street

30 Church Street |

Gooderham Court
Number of Suites: 52
Storeys: 9
Building Age: 38
Price per Square Foot: $570
Maintenance: $0.50


6. 109 Front Street East

Buying Real Estate: 109 Front Street East |

New Times Square
Number of Suites: 375
Storeys: 12
Building Age: 19
Price per Square Foot: $925
Maintenance: $0.69 (inclusive of utilities)


7. 105 Victoria Street

105 Victoria Street |

The Victorian
Number of Suites: 103
Storeys: 14
Building Age: 22
Price per Square Foot: $740
Maintenance: $0.59  


8. 92 King Street East

Buying Real Estate: 92 King Street East |

L’Esprit Residences
Number of Suites: 212
Storeys: 17
Building Age: 28
Price per Square Foot: $765
Maintenance: $0.80 (inclusive of utilities)


9. 222 The Esplanade

222 The Esplanade |

Yorktown on the Park
Number of Units: 349
Storeys: $764
Building Age: 28
Price per Square foot: $764
Maintenance: $0.96 (inclusive of utilities)


10. 313 Richard Street East

Buying Real Estate: 313 Richmond Street East |

The Richmond
Number of Units: 497
Storeys: 15
Building Age: 19
Price per Square foot:  $860
Maintenance: $0.62 (inclusive of utilities)


Interested in Buying Real Estate? Let’s Talk.

If you’re interested in talking more about market conditions, what’s been happening in this neck of the woods or would like to explore some older buildings (that offer more than face value), we’re happy to chat anytime!

Contact Us (We’re Nice).


This article is written by Kori Marin, Managing Partner and Broker at Fox Marin Associates. With a passion for Scandinavian design and all-things-Toronto, Kori brings her own brand of charismatic energy, creative integrity, and expertise to her work.