With the average price of a Toronto condo well over $700,000, anything even slightly cheaper can feel like a dream in today’s market. But in one of Toronto’s most popular neighbourhoods, the average selling price of a condo is so low, we actually had to do a double-take.
In Little Portugal, homebuyers paid an average of $582,000 for a condo last month. MLS data for that area (C01) indicates a total of 33 sales in May. 13 of them sold below the month’s average. And according to Sam Massoudi, real estate agent at Strata.ca, more than half of those transactions were concentrated in just two buildings: 36 Lisgar Street and 68 Abell Street.
“I personally believe these two buildings are driving down the neighbourhood average in Little Portugal,” he says.
“It’s really peculiar to see 1-bedrooms selling in the low $400s, considering the Toronto average for units this size are actually $560,000.”
‘Units are smaller, no unique character’
36 Lisgar and 68 Abell were originally introduced to the neighbourhood as a more economical living situation, according to Strata.ca realtor Alex Hood. He says the boutique features that many homebuyers are looking for just don’t exist in either building.
“The finishes are of lower quality, the layouts are smaller, and they don’t have any unique character.”
Hood also notes that a lot of the units, especially at 68 Abell, are purchased as investment properties and rented out to tenants. So they may not be as appealing to end-users.
“Both buildings also have a revolving door of inventory with units that stay on the market longer, and sell at about $900 per square foot...well below the average of $970 for Toronto’s west end.”
Property values surge when two buildings omitted
As one of Toronto’s hottest ethnic enclaves, Little Portugal is just west of downtown in the ‘Old’ City of Toronto. Although it was traditionally a pocket for residents of Portuguese and Brazilian descent, its central location and steady gentrification have made Little Portugal one of the city’s most sought after destinations; even though its property values may not necessarily reflect that.
“When I remove 36 Lisgar and 68 Abell from the MLS data search, the average sale price of a condo for May jumps to $753,000,” says Massoudi.
And that’s well above Toronto’s overall average of $701,000. If those two buildings did not exist, Little Portugal would have some of the highest real estate values in the city. It would beat out neighbourhoods like High Park, Cabbagetown and Leaside, which sit at $700,000, $713,000 and $677,000 respectively.
Some sections of this article were removed in good faith to acknowledge concerns brought to light by condo owners at 36 Lisgar and 68 Abell.
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