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905 condo boom attracts millennials priced out of other markets

Sales of new condo apartments in Toronto suburbs have hit a record high, says real estate market research firm Urbanation

The 905 condo boom comes as unsold units in new condo developments in the city of Toronto dropped 16 percent from last year, according to stats from real estate market research firm Urbanation.

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The 905 condo boom comes as unsold units in new condo developments in the city of Toronto dropped 16 percent from last year, according to stats from real estate market research firm Urbanation.

When it came time to purchase her dream home, Liana Acri decided not to go for the stereotypical suburban backyard or the box high in the city sky.

Instead, a 620 square-foot, fifth-floor one-bedroom condo in Vaughan was the perfect fit for the 30-year-old.

It was close enough to her job in Etobicoke, and, at around $250,000, just the right price.

“I have friends that are in the housing market and they definitely have their hearts set on a house…it’s scary what the prices are,” she said.

“Depending on what their ideal location is compared to budget and value for your money, it’s hard, you don’t find a perfect trifecta”

Acri is one of a rising number of people turning to 905 condos as a place to find that combination as condos downtown get harder to find and prices continue to climb on houses across the GTA.

According to stats from real estate market research firm Urbanation, sales of new condo apartments in the region, which includes cities like Mississauga, Vaughan and Brampton, reached a record level of 2,112 units in the first quarter of 2016, more than double the number from that time last year. Eleven new condo projects launched in the 905 during those months compared to only four in the city of Toronto.

Senior vice president Shaun Hildebrand said the firm doesn’t have hard numbers for the second quarter of 2016 yet but anticipates the trend will only continue, calling the 905 condo market is “as hot as it’s ever been.”

He estimates 905 condos are about $100,000 less than downtown Toronto ones, and about $500,000 less than single family homes in the suburbs.

“I think with this momentum you’re going to see a lot more development occurring in the 905,” he said.

Elena Vankevich, a broker with Kingsway Real Estate in Mississauga, said she has noticed a big increase in the number of people buying condos in the region compared to last year, especially millennials looking for their first home.

“People in their twenties and thirties, they just simply can’t afford the houses anymore,” she said.

“But they still want to move out on their own, so this is their next option.”

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