TORONTO - As sales of luxury homes shatter existing year-to-date records throughout the GTA, upscale purchasers have upped the ante yet again with demands for architecturally-significant product, according to luxury realtor Barry Cohen.
"While the 'traditional' stone home still captures the majority of high-end consumers, there has been a notable shift in recent years," says Cohen. "The growing appeal of minimalistic modernism has custom home builders scrambling to accommodate the needs of this up-and coming segment. Product is still few and far between, but we've seen record sales of modern properties valued in the multi-millions."
Modern/transitional homes represented 11 per cent of total residential sales over $3 million in the GTA's central core in Q2 2015 (13/117), up from just six per cent during the same period one year earlier (4/65).
"Modern homes would have accounted for a much larger segment of the luxury market had more builders recognized and moved on the trend when they first acquired their properties," explains Cohen, a high-end specialist with RE/MAX Realtron. "An estimated 50 per cent of new housing starts in the upper-end are now modern/transitional, particularly in the York Mills area, but these properties will not be available for sale for at least another two years."
Modern homes typically offer clean lines, wide open spaces, and liberal use of glass and light. Sustainability and power efficiency are a necessity for most purchasers, with some properties powered by solar panels and other innovative sources. Materials such as wood, stone, and in some instances, prefabricated steel beams are utilized throughout, with the finished product creating an urban oasis in some of the city's highest density communities.
"The trend toward modernism that gained momentum in the mid-20th century has re-emerged. Many architects and designers are once again looking to California for inspiration," explains Cohen, whose $7.38 million listing at 29 Old Yonge St. in Hogg's Hollow is fashioned after Los Angeles' sleek architecture.
Custom home builders, Enirox, acquired the choice property several years ago. Company CEO Arash Kamali, together with partner, Ahmad Fatehi, wanted to make best use of the natural setting and generous lot size. With the input of industry expert Ali Shakeri, the Enirox team ultimately decided that a modern house would showcase the spectacular setting, perched on the original banks of the Don River.
"Within the last decade, there has been a significant uptick in demand for modern and open-spaced houses," says Kamali, whose company was one of the first to identify the trend and focus solely on satisfying this segment of the market. "The challenge is finding inventory."
Over the last 10 years, Enirox has built more than a dozen modern homes, in a variety of price ranges and sizes. The latest high-end modern homes are located at 29 Old Yonge St. and 11 Misty Cres., both approximately 6,000 sq. ft. A few smaller versions of these modern homes are located at 97 Stuart Ave. and 237 St. Clements Ave.
"We, as custom-builders, have contributed to the existing supply of modern homes, but more product is needed to accommodate ever-growing demand," says Kamali.
Barry Cohen has been the top agent in the city for luxury home sales over $2 million since 2008, according to statistics compiled from the Toronto Real Estate Board. He has ranked as RE/MAX' #1 sales associate in Canada several times, earned global recognition by placing #2 worldwide twice for RE/MAX LLC, and is the recipient of numerous RE/MAX Awards, including their highest honour, the Luminary of Distinction. There are currently only 33 members worldwide, out of approximately 100,000 active agents.
SOURCE Barry Cohen Group
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