June 21, 2018 | investment
Let’s talk about buying property as an investment. More specifically, let’s look at which neighbourhoods are more likely to show greater appreciation over time. Let’s put aside the emotional pulls that draw you to a given neighhourhood- the pretty houses, your favourite coffeeshop, singing birds in a canopy of trees. Let’s also set aside some practical reasons as well. Let’s not consider how close it is to your go-to grocery store, whether there are good schools or if you’re close to your Mom or Dad who can look after your pets/kids while you’re at work.
For today, let’s focus in. Let’s explore those properties that are more likely to give you strong returns in the future (according to me). Now as a caveat, let me say that there are no guarantees in real estate. Markets go up and markets go down. So, I would like to take a look at what areas have the best prospects in Toronto for the future over the long term. Let’s look at neighbourhoods that may be inexpensive now (by Toronto standards), but will be worth more in the future.
It’s no secret in real estate that a location near a major transit hub can really boost the value of your property. If you look at our city’s subway lines, you will find property values much higher near the subway. If you look at GO stations, like the new one in Hamilton, you will see a spike in the property values closer to the GO station, even when the properties are not as nice as ones further away. The bottom line is: People don’t like to commute. No one wants commuting time eating into their days, and they will pay good money to minimize this.
Some transit is much better for values than others. Subways or GO train stations that bring you into the city are the top modes of transit that will benefit your property. Being close to a bus stop does not necessarily carry as much heft, thought that would really depend on the bus line, how often it comes and where it takes you. Frequent bus routes to the subway or a GO staton can be a stronger asset.
The reason the subway, GO trains and some streetcar lines are more advantageous than buses (and some other streetcar lines) has to with their exclusive use. Subways, GO trains and some streetcar lines (like the Spadina streetcar) are not sharing their routes with automobile traffic. So rush hour or any hour can be much less torturous. And that means an often shorter and more predictable travel time.
Today, I’d like to look at the Eglinton Crosstown. Why this transit route? Well, first up, it’s not here yet. It’s under construction and should be completed by 2021. Also, it’s really happening. At this point, it’s not an idea like the Relief Line. It’s actually being built.
The Eglinton Crosstown is a light rail system, but it will function like a subway in that most of the route is underground. Getting around will not be subject to traffic as much as light rail streetcars that are part of the automobile traffic. It can travel much faster than buses or streetcars, up to 80 kms/hour (though it won’t be traveling at such speeds). Still, it is estimated to be 60% faster than the current bus route. That’s a significant improvement. It connects to the Yonge-University Subway Line two times and to the Bloor Line at Kennedy. It connects to several GO stops and it connects to the UP Express at Mount Dennis.
This transit route will run in a pre-existing stretch of Eglinton from Mount Dennis in Toronto’s west to the east at Malvern in Scarborough. Note the original plan stopped at Kennedy, but the City voted to extend the line to Malvern in May of 2018. Here is how the future TTC map in the 2020s will look like with 19 km of track and 25 stations. Malvern is not on this map yet.
What areas will benefit? Well, all of them, but neihbourhoods that already have good transit infrastructure will likely not see as much change. In my opinion, the neighbourhoods furthest away will have the greatest advantage as far as improved value in estate goes. The Eglinton Crossway will link isolated areas to the City in a way it hasn’t before. Mount Dennis, is still an affordable areas to buy a house, but once the Crosstown is done, this area will be much more valuable since it’s days of transit isolation will be over.
For Mount Dennis, it’s not just the Eglinton Crosstown. At Black Creek and Eglinton there will be a mobility hub that also connects to the UP Express, and the GO train to Kitchener. This means you can get downtown to Union Station in 15 minutes. You can be at the airport inside the terminal in 15 minutes. Mount Dennis will go from one of the most poorly serviced areas to one of the top transit hubs in the city.
You have to keep in mind that Mount Dennis has been very isolated up until now as far as Toronto neighbourhoods go. This area is about to become transformed. It won’t happen overnight, but I do believe it will become the new Junction or Leslieville. A place where Torontonians can find a starter home for a reasonable price.
Mount Dennis is not the only spot. Caledonia will also improve. O’Connor and Pharmacy Road in the East, plus many stops along the Scarborough line will see much change.
The Eglinton Crosstown will boost development and businesses all along Eglinton. Developers will seek out new condos to densify along a well-serviced route, particularly as downtown options become too expensive. With the influx of more people, there will be more businesses to cater to new residents.
With all that said, I would watch Eglinton Crosstown closely. It will create some great opportunities that will appeal to the investor in you, but it will also make getting around the city much easier and pleasant for many neigbhourhoods along its new path. Neighbourhoods like Mount Dennis may not have the yoga studios and celebrated restaurants of other neighbourhoods, but change is in the air.