Greater Toronto Area
Vacancies: 2.1% ↑
Rents: $1,076 ↑
In the Cities Around Toronto, Apartment Opportunities are Small but Powerful
The four regional municipalities surrounding the City of Toronto – Halton, Peel, York and Durham – have seen spectacular growth in the past fifty years. Until the 1960s, these former counties were primarily rural townships surrounding well established small towns. However, development spilled past the boundaries of Metropolitan Toronto and managing that growth became the great challenge of the Province of Ontario, which created the regional municipalities in response.
With the bulk of its growth initially built in service of Toronto’s commuting traffic, the new cities of Mississauga, Vaughan, Markham and Pickering began as bedroom communities, and the bulk of their residential development was single family homes. The imposition of rent control in the 1970s may have had an influence, as communities with larger, established centres like Mississauga and Oshawa have a higher apartment to person ratio than newer centres like Vaughan, Markham or Richmond Hill.
The smaller markets of the outer-GTA, combined with high local incomes, have kept average rents high and vacancy rates low. In some areas, demand is severely repressed thanks to low supply. In recent years, many of the outer-GTA municipalities, including Oakville, Vaughan and Markham, are regretting their history of low-density developments and have considered intensification as a means of dealing with congestion and continued population growth. This suggests that the supply of high-rise apartment stock is going to increase in the next fifteen years.
Currently, markets throughout the outer belt of the Greater Toronto Area are tightly traded, limiting buying opportunities and the chances for repositioning. However, demand still makes these good areas to buy. The biggest returns; however, may come from new construction as the cities around Toronto get serious about intensification.
Two Sides to the Highway: Old Oshawa Centre Reinvents Itself
The City of Oshawa is a small but well-established urban centre to the east of the amalgamated City of Toronto, boasting a population of over 150,000. Established and initially growing as an economic engine in its own right – thanks especially to the General Motors plant that anchored the city for years – Oshawa saw a substantial amount of its development before the 1950s and maintained its local identity long after the neighbouring towns of Pickering and Ajax became bedroom communities.
Oshawa encountered an identity crisis when its manufacturing base shrank in the face of American competition. Since the early 1990s, the city has had to reinvent itself, increasing its service and education sector and becoming more of a commuter-based city.
Oshawa’s earlier development has made it the largest market for apartments between Toronto and Kingston, with almost as high a concentration as Scarborough.
Oshawa’s apartment market does have areas of opportunity and areas where investors should tread cautiously, and it is important to be aware of which side of the highway potential deals are on. South of Highway 401, the economic demographics do indicate risky investments.
Oshawa is a well-established city with a strong downtown and strengthening economy. This urban centre is increasing its transportation connections with the City of Toronto, with improved and extended commuter rail and new highway construction. As the Greater Toronto Area grows, prospective renters will be attracted to this city, with its mixed neighbourhoods and affordable apartment stock. One should not expect Oshawa’s vacancy rates to remain high, nor average rents to remain low for long.
- Look for developing bright spots in the downtown and the north end of the city as investment and growth continue.
- A new university campus and a lack of student housing offers opportunities for buying, repurposing and building.
- The volatile automobile sector will continue to influence the local market.
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Global Director Buildings
Mansoor Kazerouni is an Architect with over 27 years of experience and a significant portfolio of projects completed or underway across Canada, the United States, the UAE, Jordan and India. These include high density high-rise residential buildings, hotels, office, retail, institutional, and complex urban mixed-use developments. A number of these projects have been nominated for and received Urban Design and Architectural Design awards.
Mr. Kazerouni is the Global Director of Architecture at IBI Group, leading a team of over 1,400 Architects, designers and Engineers located in 60 offices worldwide.
Mr. Kazerouni has been a guest lecturer on the subject of architecture and mixed-use design at universities, conferences and various panels. He has also been interviewed on the subject by newspapers, architectural publications, television and other media.
Mr. Kazerouni's abilities and expertise in his field have been recognized by his appointment to the City of Mississauga's Urban Design Advisory Panel, the City of Markham’s Urban Design Advisory Panel and the City of Vaughan's Urban Design Advisory Panel. He is also a past Advisory Board Member of the Urban Land Institute, a member of the Ontario Association of Architects, the Alberta Association of Architects, the Nova Scotia Association of Architects, the Architects Licensing Board of Newfoundland and Labrador, and a member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. He has testified as an expert witness at the Ontario Municipal Board and at Arbitration Hearings related to development sites.
Darryl McCullough CCIM SEC
Broker - Royal LePage Lakes of Muskoka Realty Inc., Brokerage
President - Crescent Equity Management Inc.
Since 1972, I have been given the opportunity to interact with seasoned partners and clients in structuring and organizing both simple and complex real estate transactions involving acquisition, disposition, finance, and consulting in Canada and throughout the United States. It has trained me to bring a unique, personal client-centered approach to each assignment, from simple to complex transactions and the diverse clientele who own them.
In 1984 I received the Certified Commercial Investment Member, CCIM, designation (www.ccim.com); an internationally recognized identity confirming amortized knowledge in the disciplines of investment, development etc.
Another prominent membership I thankfully am able to continue holding is with the U.S. based Society of Exchanges Counselors (www.secounselors.com). This organization shares my belief in pursuing and demonstrating problem solving techniques in the real estate industry based on proven principles of integrity, professionalism, and accountability. Through this organization I continue to dedicate myself to what is true in the discipline of real estate problem solving.
Technology coupled with a learned research and analytical skill set now allows me to carry out these functions with selected projects from my adopted Muskoka home.
I continue to maintain an ever changing “student” learning status not only related to the physical asset, but equal or more importantly, drawing out corporate/personal situations and objectives and then knitting together ultimate benefit packages based on creative solutions via time honoured formulas.