Where to Buy Now 2015: three high-demand neighbourhoods where seven figures is the price of entry
Average Condo Price: $365,623
Average Detached Price: $1,230,204
Average Semi Price: $907,462
Average After-Tax Household Income: $41,032
In the 1970s, Parkdale’s large Victorian homes were chopped up into a warren of seedy, minuscule rental units. It’s only recently that the neighbourhood has started to recover. Now, to the dismay of anyone looking for affordable living space, the prime west-end location and unique housing stock are luring buyers, and prices are going up. “We’re seeing people in their early 40s—people who are coming out of condos or maybe out of Liberty Village, who are familiar with the area,” says Re/Max West Realty agent David Bailey. It’s still possible to find semis, or even detached homes in need of work, for well under $1 million, but the area has had a spate of sales in the $1.2-million range. For that price, a buyer can expect a detached, four-bedroom home with a renovated interior.
1592 Queen St. W., 647-348-8400
Young couples—newly mortgaged up to their eyeballs and in need of a stiff Pimm’s—frequent The Yukon. A pressed-tin ceiling and bookcases stacked with vintage records create an air of dignified hipness, as do the drinks, which are mixed with premium tinctures.
Glory Hole Doughnuts
1596 Queen St. W., 647-352-4848
Ashley Jacot De Boinod worked as a sous–pastry chef at Buca and Scaramouche before she opened her Parkdale doughnut shop in 2012. She turns out addictive flavours like s’mores and Cinnamon Toast Crunch; vegans go crazy for the egg-free chai brûlée.
1233 Queen St. W. (rear entrance on Gwynne Ave.), 647-861-5799
Part flower shop, part accessories boutique, Crown Flora has a shabby-twee, Brooklyn-esque aesthetic. Mason jar terrariums are Crown’s specialty—learn how to make your own self-contained ecosystems in one of their workshops.
The buyer: Doug Sanford, Retired orchestra conductor
The street: O’Hara Avenue
The Price: $695,000
Doug had been living in Saskatoon with his wife, Toronto native Joanne, and their infant son. “We’d been talking about moving to Toronto for a couple of years,” Sanford says. “Just before Christmas, I called my agent and said, ‘I’m flying in tomorrow, so clear your schedule—because I’m here for two days and I’m going to buy a house before I leave.’ ” He made an offer on a detached Victorian the following day. The house was in good enough shape that the whole family could move in a month later, but it was affordable for a reason. The interior is dated, with a tiny kitchen the Sanfords hope one day to turn into a mudroom. The plan is to overhaul the building piecemeal, a process Doug thinks will cost $150,000 or more—a bargain, he believes, for the privilege of living in a rapidly developing area.
146 Macdonell Ave.
Duplex, four bedrooms, two baths
Listed for $1.1 million
Sold for $1.075 million
15 Wilson Park Rd.
Multiplex, eight bedrooms, seven baths
Listed for $1.15 million
Sold for $1.073 million
10 Pearson Ave.
Detached, five bedrooms, three baths
Listed for $1.37 million
Sold for $1.37 million
Average Condo Price: $1,508,786
Average Detached Price: $2,144,751
Average Semi Price: $1,422,696
Average After-Tax Household Income: $85,786
Located just west of the Annex, Seaton Village deserves its quaint moniker. It’s a place where U of T professors buy homes when they want to be close to work while remaining well outside the nearest frat house’s projectile-vomit radius. The price of entry is high, but not Annex-high. Makeover-ready semis, many with detached garages and potential rental units, can be had for $900,000. (A freshly renovated house, though, could end up costing $1.2 million or more.) At the neighbourhood’s centre is Vermont Square Park, where young children splash about in the wading pool; kids can walk to Palmerston Junior Public School without leaving the neighbourhood. On non-school days, locals congregate at semi-hidden brunch spots on the Bathurst retail strip, including the Grapefruit Moon. Koreatown is nearby, and so are Bathurst and Christie subway stations.
200 Christie St., 416-537-1235
An indie-ish alternative to the major grocery stores (like the giant Loblaws around the corner on Dupont), Fiesta draws in shoppers with its large selection of local, organic and specialty products. The roster includes dainty Dufflet pastries, Rowe Farms meat and a dairy section lined with glass bottles of milk.
Hanji Handmade Paper and Gift
619 Bloor St. W., 647-349-2095
Step inside Hanji, and the bustle of Bloor Street is replaced by the serenity of a Seoul gift shop. Alongside the racks of textured paper, shelves carry enough crafting supplies to satisfy a Pinterest junkie: stationery sets, Japanese washi tape (basically prettified masking tape) and notebooks.
PIMLICO design gallery
643 Dupont St., 416-538-0909
Named for the famed Pimlico Road design district in London, this Dupont spot is the place for artsy home accessories like Pylones mugs and pressed glassware from Portugal. Highlights include Tahir Mahmood’s sculptural lamps and Skultuna’s solid brass bowls, jewellery and candle holders.
47 Olive Ave.
Row house, four bedrooms, three baths
Listed for $899,000
Sold for $1.1 million
114 Barton Ave.
Semi-detached, three bedrooms, three baths
Listed for $999,000
Sold for $1.15 million
788 Markham St.
Semi-detached, three bedrooms, two baths
Listed for $899,000
Sold for $1.35 million
Average Condo Price: $650,513
Average After-Tax Household Income: $65,074
According to analysis by Urbanation, suites in at least four of the downtown core’s best-known luxury towers are now selling, on average, for between $35 and $175 less per square foot than pre-construction buyers paid. This may be unfortunate for over-eager investors, but it’s a boon for buyers who want a spacious home in or near the financial district. Average condo prices here may not be rising as quickly as in the rest of the market, but premium units still command seven-figure bids. Anyone with around $1.5 million to spend could likely afford a 1,600-square-foot, two-bedroom suite in an amenity-rich building like the Shangri-La. Similarly sized units in older Yorkville buildings often list for hundreds of thousands less. But beware of maintenance fees—anything over 70 cents per square foot is considered higher than average.
Ben McNally Books
366 Bay St., 416-361-0032
Ben McNally stands as one of the city’s last remaining wood-panelled, chandelier-lit shrines to literature. The store’s selection is eminently browsable, ranging from classics to recent award winners to a handful of guilty pleasures. It’s quiet and tranquil and everything a great bookstore should be.
190 University Ave., 647-253-8000
At Noodle Bar, the least expensive of Momofuku’s three restaurants, classic pork ramen is the specialty. Upstairs, Daishō offers family-style platters of porchetta, short ribs or pork butt. And at Shōtō, a black granite bar with just 22 prized seats hosts decadent 10-course meals.
199 Bay St., Commerce Court West, 647-497-5158
In these celeb-obsessed times, it’s smart business to build a brand on Cameron Diaz’s calves and Will Smith’s six-pack. At star-favoured fitness studio Equinox, buff Bay Street types sweat it out and indulge in A-list amenities like a spa, juice bar and merch shop with Stella McCartney workout gear.
35 Hayden St.
PH3101: Condo, three bedrooms, three baths
Listed for $1.299 million
Sold for $1.05 million
180 University Ave.
Unit 3603: Condo, two bedrooms, two baths
Listed for $1.299 million
Sold for $1.25 million
386 Yonge St.
Unit 7105: Condo, three bedrooms, two baths
Listed for $1.195 million
Sold for $1.158 million