Sunday, February 12, 2017

Unoccupied Homes in Toronto, Almost 100,000

Statistics Canada, show the City of Toronto saw Vancouver’s 25k+ unoccupied homes, and trumped it by another 74k units. Now with over 99k unoccupied homes in the city, speculation of Toronto real estate might be worse than previously thought.
Hold my beer Vancouver, we got this. The newly released 2016 Census numbers from

99,236 Homes Not Regularly Occupied

The number of homes in the GTA that aren’t being occupied is growing almost as fast as the price of shelter. The latest numbers show that 99,236 homes are not regularly occupied, as identified by the owner of the residence. This represents 4.5% of all homes in the city, and a 10.5% change over the past 5 years. The general population grew by 4.5% during the same period, which means this trend appears to be accelerating.
The rate of irregular occupancy was mostly skewed up by a few concentrated pockets. Most of the city came in under the 5% level, but a few areas were nowhere near that. The highest rate was in the Concord area of Vaughan, which came in at 35.27%. Interesting since a number of new projects are slated to hit the area…you know, because who doesn’t want a pied-à-terre next to the Ikea.

Downtown Toronto The Most Units

Downtown Toronto averaged higher than the rest of the city. The area South of Bloor Street, East of Roncesvalles Ave., and West of Yonge Street showed an average of 8.79% unoccupied. This number is also significant because the volume of housing is much higher. For instance the Fashion District (King West) had a massive 3,316 units (21.81%) not regularly occupied. The corridor going up Yonge Street also had a higher than usual concentration when compared to the rest of the city.

Why Are They Empty?

I know what you’re thinking, foreign buyers! Well, foreign buyers aren’t usually census respondents so these are most likely domestic residents. AirBnB, pied-à-terre, or short-term renting are all uses I’ve heard from owners of multiple Toronto homes. The most popular reason however, is likely plain ole’ speculation. One of the consequences of living in a city with a red hot real estate market is flippers will hang on to inventory until they believe they’ve hit peak. In fact, a few months ago we observed that 1 in 3 homes in the city were being sold as never been lived in, despite many having been built a few years ago.
Speculation isn’t a bad thing by itself. There’s nothing wrong with flipping units for the purposes of making a profit. This could present a problem however if Canada’s record consumer debt has anything to do with this.

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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Downsview Park GO Station in Toronto

The Downsview Park GO Station is a unique project in collaboration with the TTC and their Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension.

GO Transit and the TTC are collaborating on the new Downsview Park Station, which will allow customers to transition between subway and GO train service, much like they do at Union Station. Located just west of Sheppard West and Chesswood Drive on the Barrie corridor, GO train service will be above ground and subway service below ground.

The station will be fully accessible and will include elevators, escalators, ramps and other features necessary for customers to travel with ease throughout the station. A public concourse will be built below the rail to facilitate customers transferring from GO to TTC service.

GO will have its own station integrated into the subway station, which will consist of a 12-car platform with a snowmelt system, heated shelters, bike shelter, an accessible platform and a GO ticket sales booth.

We plan to start GO Train service at Downsview Park Station in late 2017 to coincide with the start of service on the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension. Note that Downsview, TTC’s current line 1 terminus station at Sheppard West and Allen Road, will be renamed Sheppard West.

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