My friend Christopher Bibby — who is a real estate agent here in Toronto — is in the Globe and Mail today talking about how Toronto-area buyers have returned to downtown. The article is by Carolyn Ireland and in it Bibby cites two of his recent deals: A large 2 bedroom suite at 168 King Street East that just sold for $1.2 million and an even larger penthouse at 388 Richmond Street West that just sold for $2.4 million.
(Sidebar: 388 Richmond Street West is one of my all-time favorite buildings in the city and was developed by Howard Cohen nearly two decades ago. For more on Howard, check out this post I wrote back in 2016.)
These are two examples of buyers who want to live in the city. Of course, there are countless others who are making moves right now. As Bibby points out in the article, the mood has certainly shifted from what we were seeing last year in the condo space. Condo buyers today are even starting to comb through expired listings in the hopes of finding off-market deals.
I view this kind of real estate activity as a leading indicator for what’s to come in the the city. Rental activity is naturally going to lag until people starting returning to offices en masse and downtown life fully resumes. It’s more of a short-term “buying” decision. But as a condo purchaser, it’s easy (and probably better) to look through the short term.
I think that’s what people are doing right now and they’re saying to themselves, “yeah, I want to be in the city.” I know that’s how I feel.