Young — and old — driving resurgence of rental

Condo developers rethinking sites once planned for condos
By: Susan Pigg, Business Reporter

The condo sales office had barely opened and demand was expected to be strong for suites in The Selby, a 49-storey tower right on the subway line at Sherbourne and Bloor.

Then co-developer Cityzen got an offer it couldn’t refuse: An institutional investor was looking to snap up all 441 condo units and turn them into something rarely seen downtown in decades – brand new rental apartments.

Incredibly, they aren’t the only ones.

Cityzen Development Group president Sam Crignano says he’s also talking to other institutional investors looking to build rental towers on sites where Cityzen had hoped to eventually construct condos.

“Rents have crept up to the point where the economics of these kinds of deals make a lot of sense,” says Crignano.

“Plus, let’s be frank, one of the issues we’re facing now is affordability. People are finding it harder to just come up with a down payment,” even for new-build condos which are now averaging $454,476 across the GTA.

Even veteran apartment developers The Minto Group, which owns and manages some 17,000 apartments but has largely shifted its sights to building condos, is now taking another look at rental.

Minto recently raised more than $300 million in equity. It is looking to build or refurbish some 6,000 units of rental housing to service what it sees as a seismic shift in how the young – and the old – are going to be living in costly urban centres like Toronto.

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