The Allure of Luxury

One of the unfortunate side effects of the condo boom in Toronto is the surplus of luxury condos and a shortage of affordable houses. How is this bad? Well, pretty much every new condo built in the last 5 years is a luxury condo. Some are affordable but they come with costs that don’t really become apparent until you really take a step back and look at the condo living situation.

  1. Typically, the clusters of condos have a grocery store at the base of at least one building. Unfortunately, these are typically high end stores with name brand products. No store brand products in these smaller format stores. This means every time you go shopping you’re paying a premium on everything.
  2. These condos have lots of amenities but they’re only worth it if you use them. Too often to people like to talk about all of the awesome features of their building, only to never set foot in them. Additionally, if you own your unit, you’re paying for these everyday regardless.
  3. There are usually a lot of places to eat our nearby which can be tempting for some. I think this is typically a good thing, but some of the most mediocre restaurants I have ever been to are contained in these condo groupings (I’m looking at you, Liberty Village).
  4. This is a tough one. Do you really need this luxury living? A lot of people leave college having spent time living in less than ideal shared housing, and then make a jump right to a luxury condo. Can you spend a few more years sharing a house? How about splitting a modest apartment? There are other options out there.

More and more condos go up everyday, pushing people ever towards living in boxes in fancy towers. Some of us will hopefully continue to resist this urge, creating a need and want for reasonably priced housing without all the bells and whistles.

Canadians are addicted to home ownership, I just hope our thirst to own doesn’t destroy the affordability. Hopefully, we can use a little foresight and look to other countries and stop problems before they get out of control.

-Mike

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Trading Comfort for Capital

I’m 27 years old and have lived a pretty comfortable life so far. I moved out of my parents house into a fancy condo. This I downgraded to a big apartment in an older build. Now I am realizing, I don’t want this much space and will find a room in a shared house. This will save me money and help me eliminate possessions.

Going forward, I will not stay in hotels anymore while travelling. Usually I stay in hostels, but I splurge on hotels. I don’t need that comfort at this point in my life, so I won’t spend the extra money required to upkeep that comfort. In hostels I’ll stay in larger rooms with more beds to further shave costs off travelling (my biggest expense).

Walking, biking and transiting to work versus driving has been my life so far. I don’t plan to change this. I will no longer Uber to work unless I have no other option due to time. I’ll walk to the GO station instead of transiting. 30 minutes enjoying a walk through the city is better than spending to sit on a hot subway.

Are you able to trade comfort for additional money in the bank? Determine your tolerance and push your boundaries. You might find you’re a glutton for punishment like myself.