One of the best indicators that a city has achieved world-class status is a booming luxury real estate market. From the famously high-end condos of Deer Park or the Annex in Toronto to the detail-oriented apartments of Hiroo and Azabu in Tokyo, there are buildings and then there are meticulous projects that attract accolades from around the world.
As the driving force behind the already-celebrated The One on Bloor Street, Toronto developer and entrepreneur Sam Mizrahi understands the luxury condo market as well as anyone. And while, after years of rising prices, many in Canada are forecasting a real estate correction for the country’s biggest and most cosmopolitan city, Mizrahi sees one segment of the market not only weathering whatever downturns might lie ahead, but actually thriving.
“I think the luxury segment actually reveals something important about the real estate industry as a whole, which is the endurance of Toronto’s appeal, as well as Canada in general,” Mizrahi says. “Canadians still want to live in Canada, and so does much of the rest of the world. Given the state of the world and the plethora of options created by an increasingly globalized community, that’s pretty incredible.”
With its famously diverse and colourful neighbourhoods, top-flight restaurants, iconic major league sports franchises, and shopping that ranges from upscale-chic to fabulously funky, Toronto is one of the world’s true destination metropolises. Mizrahi understands the city’s pull — during his childhood his family decided to move from Tehran there after visiting T.O. during a cross-Canada vacation.
One of the realities of living in a hyper-desirable place is there’s no shortage of demand for real estate. Canada’s current immigration plan is to see the country welcoming 430,000 new immigrants per year, all of whom need a place to live. Add to that a massive generation of millennials who continue to transition from renters to owners.
Thanks to multiple factors (including limited supply, a decade of historically low interest rates, and a pandemic that had everyone not only working at home, but wanting to own their places of work), the Toronto real estate market has been super-heated for years. And nothing drives up prices like a market where there are more buyers than there is supply.
But the flip side to that is prices in recent years have risen to the point where some hopeful buyers have been forced to the sidelines. Recent hikes in bank rates to cool off the market have also led to speculation about a market correction. While stats show that prices remain high in 2022, there was a 39 per cent drop in sales this May compared to last year.
For Mizrahi, that’s part of a cycle that’s been going on for decades and decades. As a lifelong entrepreneur, he’s learned the importance of living in the present while always thinking about the future. (Ever busy, Mizrahi this week has launched a new app with FinTech exec Jon Fath. Built by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, Rauva provides a country-by-country compatible, automated, integrated experience for the banking and financial management needs of those in Europe’s Mediterranean region.)
A key thing to keep in mind when looking at Toronto’s real estate market, Mizrahi suggests, is that while prices sometimes dip, the rebound always follows.
“It was inevitable that the Canadian real estate market would see a downturn — you can’t have rapid growth forever,” Mizrahi says. “It’s also too easy to get caught up in the minutia of these trends. In the big picture, I think Toronto real estate will remain resilient.”
Indeed, a Royal Bank of Canada housing report this week, while ominously titled “Toronto area —The frenzy is over”, notes that while prices fell overall according to the MLS Home Price Index, condos have proven particularly desirable and resilient.
Interestingly, experts agree that the current overall downturn isn’t affecting the luxury segment of the Toronto real estate market.
One thing that gets folks worried during a correction is investing in a property that will be worth less money as prices continue to dip. Properties like Mizrahi’s The One on Bloor aren’t like most properties.
Designed by world-famous London, England architect Norman Foster, the 80-storey downtown skyscraper is set to redefine the Toronto Skyline. In turning to the firm of Foster + Partners, Mizrahi has said, “We were looking for someone who could help the vision and be able to help us move boundaries architecturally and design-wise”.
And one of the ways those boundaries are being moved is not only the look from the street, but a cutting-edge attention to detail that reflects Mizrahi’s quarter-century history as a luxury-market developer. Think buttonless computer-run smart elevators, two floors of state-of-the-art gym equipment and games, app-run smart-homes, a 100 ºF” year-round outdoor swimming pool with a snowmelt deck overlooking Yonge and Bloor, and expansive gardens —over 1,000-feet above street-level — billed as “backyards in the sky”.
At the risk of stating the obvious, The One is a little different from most projects: ambitious, forward-thinking and futuristic, and obsessively detail-oriented.
Just as Tokyo, New York, and Paris have long been destinations for those who’ve embraced the luxury market, so is Canada’s most internationally famous city. Cycles come and go. What never changes is the demand for properties that make a statement on the global stage.
“At the end of the day, home buyers will continue to seek out luxury homes in Toronto, and developers like myself will continue to build them,” Mizrahi says. “We’re still seeing high levels of interest in The One, and that’s going to be reflected in luxury homes and condos throughout the city.”
Learn more about Mizrahi Developments here.