A recent article in the Montreal Gazette caught our eye because it referenced how “Some condo towers in Toronto now include indoor playgrounds, and even maker spaces where kids (and adults) can work on arts and crafts.” The writer says this is “genius.”
As we read more, we noticed that there are some good ideas that Toronto should actually be borrowing from Montreal.
Montreal’s mayor, Valérie Plante, has pledged to require that at least 20% of units in all new condo developments be three-bedroom or larger. This is in an effort to increase the amount of families living downtown.
Montreal took it a step further by offering incentives to families. There is up to $15,000 available (in subsidies and tax rebates) for families with children who are buying a new build home in downtown Montreal priced at up to $450,000. This is the high-end for a new home in the area, (as of mid-2018). If buying outside of the downtown, there are incentives of up to $10,000.
Perhaps this is something Toronto should look at doing. We’ve heard of incentivizing developers to build a greater amount of family-sized condo units, but what if the government made them build more and then gave the incentives to the buyers? That way, developers wouldn’t have to worry as much about whether the larger units would sell or not.
There’s one key difference between Toronto and Montreal; Toronto is way more expensive. In Montreal, it’s realistic that a large condo unit would cost around $450,000. In Toronto, one-bedroom units are more expensive than $450,000. You’re looking at the $1 million range if you’re considering a three-bedroom condo in downtown Toronto. That means the incentives for the buyers would have to be higher than what Montreal is offering to make it worth it.
Even when it comes to land transfer taxes, Montreal is more affordable. If you were to buy a home in Montreal for $450,000, you’d pay $5,250 in land transfer taxes. In Toronto, you’d have to pay $10,950 in land transfer taxes for the same priced home.
If a family wanted to buy a $1 million condo in downtown Toronto, they’d pay nearly $33,000 in land transfer taxes. This can definitely dissuade families from buying any type of home in Toronto. It’s tough to suggest that Toronto give out more land transfer tax rebates with the news from late last year that the tax underperformed by 12% in 2018.
Nevertheless, it’s interesting that Montreal is looking to Toronto on how to appeal to families. There are plenty of amazing examples, like the kids’ room at Saturday in Downsview Park by Mattamy Homes, and there are a few Daniels condo communities with family-friendly amenities as well.
While condo prices are on the rise, they are still relatively the most affordable housing type in the GTA, so hopefully we see more family-friendly condos announced soon!