Loft Houses Bring Much Needed Stock To Toronto

Loft Houses Bring Much Needed Stock To Toronto

Sep 13, 2015
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When most people think of lofts for sale in Toronto, they think of open-concept, hard loft conversions in historic buildings with a common entrance. But there are also loft-style options for buyers who want traditional two or three bedroom layouts with private entrances and outdoor spaces.

There are a number of new, loft-style townhouses already available in Toronto or about to hit the market - some of which are well worth the price tag, others that are questionnable in terms of their value proposition. One thing is certain though - loft townhomes are a welcome addition to the Toronto loft family.

These developments are filling a gap in the Toronto loft market that buyers, particularly young couples and families, are clamouring for and that’s spacious, traditional layouts. It can be difficult to find family-sized units with practical layouts in the city’s existing loft stock - they’re there but it may take time for the right listing to hit and when it does, you may have bidder competition.

In addition to more bedrooms and private outdoor spaces, these loft houses also provide modern design with character, something that’s often lacking in regular townhomes. Heck, Modern + Character can be difficult to find in any property type, especially in a sea of cookie-cutter condos.

Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting projects we’ve come across.

Loft Houses Becoming The New "It" Toronto Townhouse

Toronto townhouses have seen some of the fastest growing value appreciations of any property type this past year and it’s easy to see why. As semi-detached and detached houses become increasingly out-of-reach for many buyers both in terms of price and availability, townhouses provide a great alternative. They’re particularly popualar with young professionals and couples looking to size up from a loft or condo unit without needing $1M to do so. The last two townhomes on our list below are great examples of the value you can find in some of the latest loft conversions.

But loft townhomes are also available in the luxury market for affluent buyers who want more character and less maintenance than the typical Toronto freehold house provides. Our first example shows just what a seven-figure, high-end town can provide.

The TownLofts

For something truly unique, The TownLofts in Liberty Village allow you to customize your own unit and offer some of the largest suites in the city with floorplans of 6,000 sqft plus 1,500 sqft of outdoor space. This is the pinnacle of custom luxury in Toronto’s townhome market. But I wouldn’t call these loft houses. The only thing that makes these freehold towns loft-like from my perspective is the soaring ceilings.

Okay, quick sidebar: We see the term thrown around often - "loft houses" or "loft townhomes" - and it’s not always a fitting description. Toronto loft buildings offer some of the most unique and character-filled residential spaces in the city and so a lot of developers tack the word "loft" onto their projects for the cache. A loft doesn’t have to be a conversion of an historic building - new build, soft lofts are valid lofts - but the definition has really stretched these days to mean anything "unconventional" which is a stretch too far in my opinion.

You’ll often see us work with clients to sell houses with loft-like features because we know what the loft-loving community is after. And so we’re flexible as to what kinds of properties earn the loft label. But this new "loft" project seems to lack any fundemental loft features and so the designation just reads as marketing spin.

That said, although this complex is not particularly loft-y, what makes these townhomes "unconventional" are the features you pick yourself.

Want a pool on your private, rooftop terrace? They can do that. Four car parking instead of two? Done. Full design control over interior layouts and finishes. No problem. That is, if you have the bucks to back one of these spectacular units. And if you have to ask about price, you probably can’t afford it. You’re essentially buying a shell here and your cost for finishing the "blank canvas" will depend on what you want done.

With just four units in this intimate development, this is obviously for a unique buyer. It’s hard to say exactly what a finished unit will cost but we’re estimating around $2M with high-end finishes. While the price per sqft is actually not bad, not many people are going to pay this for Liberty Village. It’s also a huge amount of risk and time for the buyer - this is a massive project to tackle.

Still, whether this particular project is worth the price tag or not, it’s exciting to see customizable developments coming to the fore beyond the typical "pick a backsplash and flooring" options.

The Lanehouse at 50 Bartlett

Our colleagues over at recently wrote about the merits of laneway housing and featured this sold-out development at 50 Bartlett by developer Curated Properties.

It’s easier to see why this project is deemed a loft because much of the building is a conversion of a former yarn factory and it showcases many of heritage features. The development includes a combination of traditional loft units and loft townhomes - thirteen townhouses and three flats to be exact. It’s a combo we’re seeing more of in new loft and condo communities.

The interiors are sleek without feeling cold - the exposed brick is milk washed which adds a softness to all of that hard edge. The best thing though is the 18 ft ceilings. While the units here are generous in size, townhomes can feel narrow and tight but the soaring ceilings coupled with a generous use of pot-lights and large windows create a really airy feel.

These towns are sold out and we’re not surprised. The pre-con prices (inherent risks with buying pre-con aside) offered great value - prices and sizes ranged from $509,000 to $899,000 for 1,000 to 2,000 sqft. Unfortunately for those who missed the pre-sales op, we’re going to see costs skyrocket here with assignments and post-occupancy re-sales.

In today’s wildly over-valued pre-construction market, we think that this building is a rare example of a case where initial investors should do really well.

Heritage Towns at 940 Lansdowne

The Heritage Towns in Davenport Village is a freehold townhouse project of 56 units, sized 1,500 sqft and up, with prices likely starting from the mid $600s but still to be confirmed. This project is in the very early phases and so there’s not a whole lot of information released yet. But Triumph Inc. is the developer - the team behind the Roncesvalles Lofts at 25 Ritchie - and so we’re expecting something unique with high attention to detail and a respect for heritage features.

This is one to keep an eye on as the area around the existing Foundary Lofts is undergoing a massive development boom.

Renderings of The Lanehouse at 50 Bartlett, © Curated Properties. Renderings of the TownLofts © Rendering of Heritage Towns © Triumph Inc.