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Movin’ On Up: How Transit Plans are Shaping the Toronto Condo Market

Movin’ On Up: How Transit Plans are Shaping the Toronto Condo Market

Public transit is in higher demand then ever before and if you drive, it’s easy to see why. What used to be downtown gridlock is now a city-wide congestion so fierce, it’s causing some drivers to leave their cars at home during their weekly commute. Others simply can’t afford a car with the high cost of city-living and more still choose public transit as a greener option and for its’ convenience (a relative term).

But local transit has its issues. In fact, ask any Torontonian what the top issues are in the City and transit is sure to be on the list. This is particularly true for owners of Toronto condos as condo buildings tend to have a high percentage of transit users.

Transit is changing though and it’s affecting the Toronto condo market. Being steps to public transit, particularly the subway or the pending light rail transit systems, is a must for many buyers looking at condos for sale in Toronto . After years of debate and delays, held up by bureaucracy and more ongoing political rhetoric than an election campaign, we’re thrilled that Metrolinx was finally green-carded in 2012 and able to move ahead with their provincially-funded $11.5 billion Big Move plan.

If you’re considering buying a Toronto condo this year and are open to various neighbourhoods, take a close look at Metrolinx’s Big Move masterplan as part of your research. The plan includes transit expansions and infrastructure overhauls across the GTA.

For Torontonians, two of the biggest changes ( read : Toronto real estate opportunities) are in the new light rail rapid transit links between Union and Pearson airport and the Crosstown that links Mount Dennis in the west to Kennedy in the east. For commuters, the LRT significantly reduces transit times versus current bus routes and opens up all sorts of new neighbourhoods for professionals looking to be within a reasonable commute time to downtown.

The Crosstown: Connecting East and West & Acting as an Investment Draw in the Toronto Condo Market

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crosstownroutemap

East side versus West side. The debate has been raging for decades amongst die-hards on either side of the Yonge street divide as well as speculators predicting the next hot pockets in the Toronto real estate market. But with Metrolinx’s new Eglinton-Crosstown subway under construction, it seems these two rival regions can finally connect north of Bloor.

The Crosstown will run across Eglinton from Mount Dennis (Weston Road) all the way east to Kennedy Road and is estimated for completion in 2020. Homeowners near The Crosstown will not only benefit from a new, convenient transit option but will likely see property values rise in accordance. There are a few neighbourhoods in particular within walking distance of The Crosstown line that we have our eye on for buyers interested in condos for sale in Toronto.

Yonge and Eglinton Gets a Boost

Yonge and Eglinton condos are a no-brainer for those who love midtown. And they’re only going to appreciate further in value with the sleek Eglinton station and new commercial offerings in the works. But also take a look at Mount Pleasant West condos and condos in Mount Pleasant East to the east of Yonge Street that collectively make up Davisville Village. Many Davisville Toronto condos are within walking distance to Yonge and Eglinton but the interior streets of Davisville Village offer a more charming, residential feel than the hustle and bustle of Yonge. You can read more about why we love Davisville Village here.

Consider York-Crosstown Condos and Starter Bungalows

York-Crosstown isn’t top of the list for most people looking to buy Toronto condos or starter homes. It lacks the trendy image and investment levels of areas further south like the Junction. But give it time. We think this region is on the rise and the Crosstown LRT will light a realty fire in the quiet, mature family neighbourhoods that make up mid-west Toronto.

York-Crosstown condos offer some of the best values anywhere in the City averaging a mere $263 square foot in 2014. There are also plenty of charming bungalows for first-time buyers under $550,000 in areas like Calendonia-Fairbank which is just steps to the planned Caledonia LRT station and popular destinations like the Castlefield design district.

But York-Crosstown is a big area and not all neighbourhoods are created equal. For those focused on growing their investments through Toronto real estate, we recommend speaking with one of our Condos.ca Pros about Keelesdale-Eglinton West which is showing big potential. You’ll enjoy many of the benefits of downtown living here but at a fraction of the cost.

Union-Pearson Express: A Benefit to Local Commuters?

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info_union_to_pearson-940x511

With stops and new stations at Weston and Bloor-Dundas (serving residents in and around The Junction Triangle), the new Union-Pearson Express trains will run every 15 minutes and take just 25 minutes to get from Union to Pearson or vice versa. Metrolinx hopes to have construction completed in time for the Pan Am games this summer.

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B3_Ramp_04

The downside here is in the cost. Metrolinx’s fare structure, which you can see here , is not suitable for the average daily commuter. The best option for frequent users is to get the new Presto Card . With a Presto pass, a one-way trip from the Bloor-Dundas station to Union is $11.40. But even with the $5.10 Presto card-holder discount, that’s still steep.

If the service is to be used widely by commuters as well as tourists and business travellers, the fares will need to fall in line with what the market will bear. At these prices, we’d expect a day return pass versus a one-way ticket if we were choose the UP Express over the TTC or a taxi. For some affluent, busy professionals though, the time saved and the promised, greater reliability of service may be worth it at any cost.

A Condo Boom in The Junction Triangle

Because of the high price of travel, we don’t anticipate the UP Express to be used by the average professional for local, non-Pearson travel. However, we still recommend that buyers considering west-end Toronto condos take a serious look at the Junction Triangle because there’s so much development happening here. The UP Express is just the tip of the iceberg.

The Junction Triangle is hands-down one of the best neighbourhoods to grow your Toronto real estate investment. Developer plans are being floated to turn this area into the next Distillery District or Liberty Village and it starts with residential builds. We’ve seen the development of various lofts and urban towns in recent years including the Sterling Lofts , Duke condos and townhouses and the sold-out Wallace Walk Towns .

Many of the new condo and townhome developments in the Junction Triangle are coming to completion in 2015 and 2016. Once these condos near occupancy dates and the UP Express service is active, we’re sure to see a spike in property prices across the vibrant neighbourhood. If you’re interested in Wallace Emerson – Junction condos , get in now.

For more information on Metrolinx’s transit plans, visit the Crosstown Project and Union-Pearson Express Project websites.