Caviar condos set to flood Toronto market

Sun May 13, 2012 9:48am EDT
 
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By Andrea Hopkins

TORONTO (Reuters) - Five months after buying one of Toronto's new luxury hotel condominiums, Oliver Baumeister is girding for a glut of suites like his to hit the market as the biggest names in the hotel business open hundreds of units in Canada's largest city.

Baumeister, himself a real estate agent, is in no rush to sell. When Toronto's untested market for five-star condo living absorbs the surplus - say by 2016 - he intends to offload his sky-high unit for a tidy 20 percent profit, and look for his next Canadian real estate investment.

"A bunch of it will sit for a while and it will take time to sell," said Baumeister, who has been buying Toronto condominiums with his brother for the past four years.

"But we bought it with the belief that the Toronto hotel condo market definitely has a future. When we sell, hopefully ... we'll see about a 20 percent profit."

The model of ultra-fine condos attached to luxury hotels isn't new - cities like Hong Kong and New York are full of them.

But Toronto, a relatively small city with no five-star hotel condominiums a year ago, is coming to the game late but with a vengeance.

By the end of this summer Toronto will have four such projects, as Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, Trump and Shangri-La open massive towers in a city where a red-hot market for all types of housing has brought rising concern about a real estate bubble.

The granite-and-glass towers, including two of Canada's tallest residential buildings, are opening in quick succession, adding hundreds of hotel rooms and more than a thousand condominiums just as Canadian housing hype hits a fever pitch.   Continued...