We recently had the opportunity to chat with a first-time buyer about his decision to buy a new construction condo either in downtown Toronto or the Danforth area.
As you read through the questions and answers, you’ll find that his decision wasn’t based on which neighbourhood was better in general (which is subjective), but more so on his own values and lifestyle preferences.
There are plenty of exciting and successful condos in the works on the Danforth, and same goes for downtown. In the interest of focusing on the neighbourhoods and avoiding comparing condo developments, we will leave out the names of the projects involved in the decision making.
Newinhomes.com (NIH): Why did you decide to buy a condo in the first place?
First-time buyer (FTB): I was saving up for a while, but if I want to live in Toronto, the condo market is really my only option. I don’t need a lot of space, I prefer to not do yard work, and I like having a gym in the building, so it just made sense.
NIH: What neighbourhoods were you considering?
FTB: I was looking all over at the beginning, but settled on the King West and Queen West areas, and the Danforth area. I found a few condos I was interested in and these neighbourhoods are all walkable, which is important to me.
NIH: What did you like about the Danforth?
FTB: It has that “up-and-coming” vibe. Some of the storefronts are old, some are empty, and some have some beautiful new shops. I figured with the amount of development in the area, there was a lot of room for new businesses to move in. Also, from an investment standpoint, I feel like the Danforth is a no-brainer.
NIH: What about King West and Queen West?
FTB: While I feel like there’s a lot of room to grow in these neighbourhoods, they have a more established vibe than the Danforth. I spend a lot of time in these areas on weekends and I’m currently renting here, so it’s familiar to me. I like all the restaurant options and the amount of foot traffic.
I also want to throw it out there that I’m totally for the King Street Pilot. If the Pilot leads to more efficient transit infrastructure, then more people will be able to live in, pass through, and access the community.
NIH: What was the main difference between the two when it came to making a decision?
FTB: In the Danforth area, I could’ve got more space for my money. The dollar amount per square foot was easily around $100 less than where I ended up buying (in King West). So if square footage was the only thing factoring into my decision or if I needed more space, I probably would’ve bought on the Danforth.
But I value walkability more and the majority of my go-to spots in the city are in the King West and Queen West areas. Truthfully, the Danforth condo may have been a better investment given the potential for growth, not that I’m an expert on that type of stuff.
NIH: If you decided to buy on the Danforth wouldn’t you have walkability and more space?
FTB: That’s true – I think it was just more of a familiarity thing. It was basically a decision between staying where I am or being part of a new, up-and-coming spot. I chose the less adventurous route, I suppose.
NIH: Finally, do you have any tips for other first-time buyers looking to enter the new construction market this year?
FTB: Pay close attention to the deposit structure. Buying preconstruction allowed me to space out my payments, which was important for my saving strategy and monthly budgeting. I also have nearly two years to save for when I move in and have higher monthly expenses.
Also, be conscious of potential floor plan changes. I had a doorway removed a few months after purchasing. The developer notified me and is compensating me accordingly, and I understood when I signed the agreement that changes like this were possible, but I can see how it could potentially throw someone off, receiving a notice like this.