This excerpt is taken from a Globe and Mail article that was last updated on Tuesday, March 17, 2009
By Derek Raymaker
Condominium builders and buyers have ventured into unknown territory. Economists and housing analysts have been predicting for five years now that oversupply and rising interest rates would lead to a slowdown in condominium sales throughout the Greater Toronto Area.
Well, it hasn't happened, mainly because of an influx of new kinds of buyers into the market. More than half of all condominium buyers are still purchasing for the first time, but now a full quarter are considered to be empty-nesters or people downsizing.
What's more, government conservation efforts have sharply curtailed the development of new low-rise housing, which has led to higher new-home prices for such dwellings, especially in Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Mississauga and Oakville. That has added another segment to the condo market — young families who have been priced out of the low-rise market.
This new diversity of condo buyers has not only made for sustained demand, but also a greater diversity in the types of condos available — in terms of size, luxury, design sensibility and location.
Builders have responded to these imperatives, some in memorable fashion.
The growing 905 municipality, Markham, has taken major strides in evolving into a diverse and mature condominium market. Buyers seem to have warmed up to the idea that th is York Region city has the potential to become a more urbanized community.
The first phase of the massive $3-billion Downtown Markham development, called Rouge Bijou, hit the market in the summer of 2006. The 187 suites in the first two mid-rise buildings were sold out in the first weekend.
When all is said and done, Remington Group's Downtown Markham will be nicely integrated with the regional transit systems' Viva express buses and the GO train. It will also include a ritzy commercial and entertainment component. But Rouge Bijou, boasting a battery of environmentally sustainable and energy-conservation features, is also considered a hit with eco-friendly buyers.