BY MARILYN WILSON, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN November 12, 2014On a recent trip to Toronto I got to see a superb, top-end condominium listing. At almost $13 million, this condo is completely off the scale of Ottawa prices, but it’s also unlike anything our city has seen in the condo market.
Part of a residence created by luxury hotel brand The Four Seasons, it takes Canadian condominium living to a new high. Listing agent Jimmy Molloy of Chestnut Park, the exclusive affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate for Toronto, says it’s “the only true luxury brand that’s ever been created in Canada and that creation took place in Toronto.”
Built in 2012, there are currently 13 listings in this Yorkville Avenue development. This particular unit is in the west tower and has several advantages over many others listed: 12-foot ceilings; a terrace that’s almost 1,000 square feet; separate one-bedroom condo for staff or guest quarters; and, at just over 5,000 square feet, it’s the largest. Molloy compares it to the penthouse, which sold for $28 million.
The Four Seasons Residences offer amenities that are not seen in Ottawa condos. Hotel services such as valet parking and room service are all part of the package. The lobby is sophisticated, but understated and the elevator takes you directly to the unit, the front door of which is accessible from the interior of the elevator (under lock and key, of course).
The unit itself, which has been staged by Ottawa’s 2H Interior Design, offers a voluminous sense of space and stunning urban views, both enhanced by floor-to-ceiling windows throughout. When asked what kind of buyer might be interested in this property, Molloy says he expects to “market the property to a global base of purchasers.”
It’s amazing to see the heights of Toronto’s condo market (there are a handful of other condos listed for over $10 million in Yorkville). Not only do the prices reach higher than Ottawa’s homes market, but there is also a much more active condo resale market in Toronto.
Molloy estimates that 50 per cent of residential sales in Toronto are condos, while the Ottawa Real Estate Board says 19 per cent of Ottawa’s residential sales between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31 were condos. Out of those sales, eight sold over $1 million.
Naturally, there’s a huge discrepancy between condo sales in our capital and those in Toronto. And though we have upper-end condo buildings — Icon, Cathedral Hill and The Merit to name a few — there have been no developments built with the level of hotel amenities to match The Four Seasons’ offering.
Watching trends in the Toronto condo market may be the best way of predicting how Ottawa’s condo market may grow. Like Toronto, Ottawa has seen an explosion in condo developments right across the city.
Since many of these are new it can be difficult to anticipate how our resale market will change as these begin to come up for sale; but it will certainly make for interesting watching.
Marilyn Wilson has been selling real estate for more than 25 years and owns Marilyn Wilson Dream Properties Inc. Brokerage, an Exclusive Affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate. She can be reached through dreamproperties.com.