The Toronto Loft market continues to enjoy impressive growth as we move towards the close of the first quarter of 2010. A shortage of available inventory has been the dominating condition of the past few months, with many units experiencing multiple offers and short selling periods. This strong market has been fuelled by the continuing availability of finance rates at 10-year lows as well as the returning confidence in the economy. The market exploded back into action in June of last year with an all-time monthly high of 109 loft sale transactions and has continued at a strong pace through the first quarter of 2010. The year opened with the highest January transaction volume of the last 5 years and current activity indicates that this abundant activity will increase over the next few months as potential buyers strive to purchase prior to the implementation of HST and the new mortgage rules. Average loft sale prices have grown from $333,694 in 2006 to the 2010 YTD average price of $407,000. It is anticipated that this number will be significantly higher by the close of the year. New construction is rampant throughout the City with significant clusters along King Street West and Queen Street East. While the new supply coming online over the next couple of years will incorporate some historic property conversions, by far the majority will come from new construction designed in the “Loft-inspired” category. Also described as ‘Soft Lofts’, these units are gaining in popularity as developers seek to tap into the demand, which struggles to be satisfied with the limited availability of true historic conversion properties. While the new constructions can’t offer the original exposed brick-work or interesting history of the traditional Hard Loft buildings, they do generally seek to incorporate open plan suites, higher-than-normal ceiling heights and larger windows, and more easily lend themselves to energy efficient designs. A handful of established developers are dominating the loft construction scene at present, notably including Context, Lamb Developments, Freed Developments and Streetcar. Recent project launches have been commanding unit prices of around $500 per square foot, an impressive figure given that such properties are still a couple of years away from occupancy and yet another indication of the ongoing market confidence and desire for the loft-lifestyle. As always, loft purchasers continue to appreciate the niche-aspect of the market, helping separate them from the conventional mass market condos and thereby utilizing the principles of supply and demand to their advantage. Anyone curious about the value of their loft do not hesitate to contact Carl Loftschmidt for free current market value assessment.