Views / Toronto / Condo Trends

Stackable condo townhouses offer more space at less cost

With the average price of a single-family home now over the $1-million mark, Toronto has joined the ranks of other international cities in the high-end, premium real-estate sector.

Shana Bahrami is a broker with Royal LePage Signature Realty. She says the Toronto market was due for an upward price correction, and that real estate has been undervalued compared to other major global cities, such as New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo.

“I think we needed an adjustment. The prices were way too low for the largest city in Canada. Honestly, I don’t think there is a bubble,” Bahrami says.

Some experts say that although Toronto’s housing prices may seem out of reach to the average buyer, in many cases, it’s is still an affordable choice on a global scale. As real-estate developer Brad Lamb once said, just because you can’t afford it, doesn’t mean it’s not affordable.

That’s no consolation for the young professional family, who these days is caught in a conundrum: The price of the housing market in Toronto is out of reach, and yet, the condo market does not offer units large enough for young families.

“This is where we see the value of the stackable condo townhouse,” says Alex J. Wilson of Re/Max Condos Plus.

This new housing form is popular with both buyers and builders. “Stacks” have the advantages of a townhome, but are sold as condominiums. These units are more attractive to end users because a project can be completed in two years instead of five for a tower. The format allows builders to construct larger suites which will cater to the young professional’s family.

Also, maintenance fees are lower; there are no costly common areas, lobbies or amenities, so cost per square foot is less than a traditional highrise condo.

They’re more efficient in terms of land use. Builders are able to realize increased density because they can build more units on the same lot.

“In a stacked townhouse, you have three units; one in the basement, one on the main level and one on top of that.” explains Wilson.

Some couples are waiting it out and buying condos as a stopgap measure.

“Recently, I sold to two couples in their early 30s actually looking towards purchasing a condo because right now, they are priced out of the housing market and then they’ll wait until they can afford that single detached home,” says Wilson.

More on