Real Estate Cheat Sheet: demand for offices, condo bidding wars and the echo boom’s influence

Real Estate Cheat Sheet: demand for offices, condo bidding wars and the echo boom’s influence

(Image: Nhl4hamilton)

For the past six months, local real estate chatter revolved around Toronto’s cooling housing market. This week presented a refreshing change: three separate stories on how and why the city’s real estate sector is still alive and, in the case of commercial property, in hot demand. Below, we break down what the latest numbers mean. 

RealNet Canada’s 2012 data supported earlier signs of the high demand for downtown office space. The research firm says investment in GTA office properties is up eight per cent, to $2.85 billion, thanks to deals like the sale of the TD Canada Trust Tower ($453 million) and Standard Life Tower on King West ($306 million). Moreover, the Globe and Mail notes, offices are fetching more, since the value of the office deals is a record, even though the number of deals (153) is not.

• Meanwhile, the Toronto Star says the housing market is showing signs of activity after a very slow December. Realtors are reporting bidding wars for the first time in several months with the interest mostly focused on larger and older condo units, and homes in desirable neighbourhoods with limited housing inventory like the Beach.

• Finally, a report from TD Bank helps to make sense of the demographic shifts fueling the demand for downtown office space and the condo craze. So-called echo boomers are streaming into the downtown core, an area where the pace of population growth has more than tripled in the last five years. The echo boomers are generally young, skilled and educated, and they want to work close to where they live, which makes companies eager to set up downtown despite lower rents in the suburbs.

• Toronto area sees record year for office property deals [RealNet Canada]
• Downtown Toronto condos: Signs of life [Toronto Star]
• Toronto—A Return to the Core [TD Economics]