Here's how much a waterfront view in Toronto is actually worth
There's no arguing that Lake Ontario is one of Toronto's greatest natural assets, or that having a waterfront view doesn't enrich the lives of anyone who lives in a high-up, south-facing condo unit downtown.
The romantic in me says you can't put a price on those cool lake breezes, soothing blue vistas, or the jealousy that pictures from your balcony will inspire among old high school friends on Instagram — but alas, it turns out that you can.
A new investigatory report from the GTA condo and loft-focused real estate firm Strata suggests that homebuyers will pay a premium of eight per cent, on average, for views of the water from their suite.
"In order to arrive at this precise value, we compared sales prices for 20 pairs of units during the past 12 months," reads the report. "Each pair consisted of nearly identical units, except for their orientation: One unit from each pair faced north; the other faced south."
All of the units in question were located in 13 buildings along the Toronto waterfront, most of them on Lake Shore Boulevard or Queen's Quay.
"After determining the average sale price for each pair, we calculated the difference among those averages, represented as a percentage."
At a premium of eight per cent, as determined by Strata's analysts, someone buying a condo in Toronto worth $600,000 would pay an additional $48,000 for waterfront views.
For a property worth $1,000,000, that premium totals roughly $80,000 — more than a full downpayment for most Toronto condos.
As for whether or not the price is worth it, experts say it all depends on what you value in a property.
"If a view of the water is going to improve your overall quality of life, then why not? I've worked with a lot of buyers who are determined to get that lake view because it keeps them emotionally anchored," says Strata Broker of Record Robert Van Rhijn. "It gives them a sense of calm, which is a nice contrast to the chaos that often comes with city life."
"There's this overwhelming sense of scarcity," says Van Rhijn. "Any developer can erect a condo, for example, on any parking lot in the city. But there's a finite amount of locations that lend themselves well to a waterfront view."