Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Exodus to the suburbs?

Toronto Life just came out with a feature story with the title "Exodus to the Burbs" on the front cover. As I read this article, I was left scratching my head. It seems that Toronto Life has interviewed a few people who have moved from the city to the burbs, and then determined that this somehow constitutes an "exodus," like some great migration of Biblical proportions.

In fact, what keeps prices high in the city is the fact that people want to live here, and actually come here. If there was an exodus, prices would be much lower.

Toronto Life does bring up a few things that the burbs do offer - more space, less rat racey and often a quieter environment.   The feature story, however, is so romantic about life outside of the city, it's verging on fiction. They describe this sense of community that exists in the smaller towns and suburbs completely ignoring the very strong sense of community that does exist in the city. In fact, I do know my neighbours, and my neighbourhood functions very much like a small town with it's local butcher, baker, plus all the cool stuff that only cities have - your pick of indie coffeeshops, good restaurants, and a festival for what feels like every weekend in the summer.

One thing Toronto Life and I do agree on. Once you leave the city, it's hard to get back if you want to buy any property.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

For those of you who think Toronto home prices are too all, you should take a look at this Vancouver real estate game:

Sure Toronto is pricey, but for a city of its size and what it has to offer, I still think we are considerably well priced.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Crack is Whack

Just above you'll see a photo from a recently discovered flyer found in the Sherbourne and Dundas area. I'm not sure whether I think it's pretty clever or just plain sad. You can really take this notice one of two ways. It's either legit where there is a concerned citizen out there who genuinely wants to return crack to his or her rightful owner, like you would a bank card or cell phone you found on the street, or more likely, it's a local prankster who is making his or her thoughts known on just how common place drug use has become in this particular neighbourhood.  

But what does this have to do with emerging neighbourhoods, you ask?

 Well, a lot.  Many buyers I come across seem to think that if a Toronto neighbourhood is centrally located and is close to the downtown glitz and glam, it is destined to shake off its shady past, and emerge as a place where the prices of property will just keep going up and up, and the neighbourhood will inevitably improve. 

And to a point, I agree. There is a certain momentum where more and more people want to live in the city. And this places pressure on well located neighbourhoods to improve as prices become out of reach in the more established downtown neighbourhoods. Even at Dundas and Sherbourne, a lot of the old Victorians have been renovated to look pretty fantastic. 

But let's not kid ourselves. Some hoods that have much bigger hurdles to clear than others. The  things that are pulling it down are just too powerful - crime, lack of community, and a disproportionately high concentration of poorly maintained public and private housing.  And of course crack. I wouldn't go so far to say neighbourhoods like the one around Dundas and Sherbourne are doomed forever like rehab that just won't work, but turning them around won't be easy.