One Size Fits None

Condos sales now make up more than half of Toronto’s resale transactions.  I believe that there would be even more condos sold if not for monthly maintenance fees which are a detraction for owners of freehold properties who would otherwise happily downsize.

One metric buyers use when comparing condos is the monthly maintenance fee per square foot.  This is a crude metric that only scratches the surface resulting in one size fits none.  By simply dividing the monthly maintenance fee by the size of the unit, there is no consideration to the maintenance fees associated with lockers, parking, hydro, internet and cable TV which vary from condo to condo.

I reviewed 30 Toronto condos covering downtown, midtown, North York and Scarborough for condos built between 1986-2013.  Below is summary of the unadjusted monthly maintenance fees per square foot.

At first glance, the average monthly maintenance fee per square foot is $0.74/SF with a variance $0.57/SF between the highest and lowest monthly fee.  It’s an overly simplistic measure as maintenance fees for some condos include hydro and some units have lockers and parking while others do not.

With that in mind, I scrubbed the maintenance fees and removed the following: hydro ($75/month), parking ($50/month) and locker ($20/month) to obtain an apples to apples comparison.  As expected, the average monthly maintenance fee of $0.64/SF is less than the unadjusted fees and there’s a smaller variance of $0.45/SF compared to $0.57 for the unadjusted rate.

Below is an adjusted maintenance fee which removes associated parking, locker and utilities components to provide a more accurate perspective.

Lower maintenance fees per square foot are more desirable and buyers/owners alike want to know where a condo fits along this spectrum.  By adjusting the fees, some condos that appeared to be relatively high were actually below average. If you are interested to know your adjusted monthly maintenance fee per square foot or which condos are among the lowest, please drop me a line.

That said, stay tuned next month as I devise a more comprehensive metric to compare condos.

As for Toronto’s real estate market in March, despite sales being well below record levels of 2016 and early 2017, the supply of listings has also receded, resulting in moderate price growth.

Feel free to let me know if you’d like more details in your neighbourhood.

3 things I’m enjoying or noodling through:

  1. I love April TV.  Raptors and Leafs are in the playoffs, Blue Jays are still in contention and the magnolias of Augusta are in bloom for the Masters.  As for my predictions, Raptors will make the Eastern conference finals and lose to the Bucks, Leafs will overcome the Bruins (let’s hope!) and lose to the Capitals, the Blue Birds will out peck the Orioles for the American League East basement and Rory McIlroy will complete his career Grand slam.  What are your predictions?
  2. I’ve become a little obsessed with sharp knives and I’m getting better using the whetstones.  I’ve watched several videos and have had reasonable success. Ironically, I don’t do a lot of the cooking at home so my wife mostly benefits from my new knife sharpening hobby. So far so good but I’d be interested to know if you have any special sharpening techniques to pass along.
  3. I recently came back from a trip to Lisbon, Portugal.  It was a beautiful city and I thoroughly enjoyed the culture and food especially the pasteis de natas.  It was the first time I had Portuguese wine and I’m a fan.  There’s limited selection in Toronto but would love to hear any recommendations for good value Portuguese reds.

You’ve probably heard the expression “April showers bring May flowers”. That expression says a lot about how some things in life work. Sometimes we have to endure some rain before we can enjoy the sunshine and flowers.

As a professional, I understand how homes are bought and sold, so I can minimize the “rain” my clients experience. I can help make the entire process as trouble-free and rewarding as possible resulting in “May flowers”

So, if there’s anything I can do to help you experience a little less rain, give me a call. I’m here to help.

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