Ever wonder if your Toronto neighbourhood is increasing in value more than other neighbourhoods? Of course you can check the neighbourhood statistics, but it’s way more fun to take a walk through your neighbourhood and look for these tell-tale signs that your property value is about to increase:

  1. A Starbucks sets up shop.  Don’t laugh – the Starbucks research machine knows when a neighbourhood’s demographics are changing to support their $6 skinny extra fat-free foam tall frappuccinos.  It does of course beg the question…which came first: the Starbucks or the gentrified neighbourhood?
  2. The condo developers arrive. OK, so not everyone loves when the 24 storey condo proposal signs go up and neighbourhood groups get up in arms about the changing face of the neighbourhood. But if you’re a homeowner, it’s good news for your bottom line. True story: when a Great Gulf sign went up a few doors from our house last month (“Executive Townhouses starting at $1 million) – we sang the “Yay our property value just went up!” song. Sad but true.
  3. A growing number of gay men move into the neighbourhood. Stereotypes, shmereotypes. Just ask Riverdale or Leslieville how being seen as a cool neighbourhood by some of our city’s most style-centric people can help the value of your house.
  4. The flippers arrive. They’re easy to spot: dumpsters in the front lawn, contractors coming and going, building permit signs in the window (hopefully). The house is magically transformed and back on the market in under a year. Who buys a flip? Young, urban professional couples who don’t have the time to renovate themselves…but have the money to pay someone else to.
  5. Commercial rents increase and new retail and restaurants open. Unlike the tightly regulated residential rental market, commercial rents can increase by whatever the market can withstand. In the past year, we’ve seen rents in the West Queen West area increase by as much as 35%. What do higher rents mean? New retail, new restaurants and new jobs…and more people falling in love with your neighbourhood.

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