Lofts have integrated themselves as a convenient housing solution in all cities that used to be major industrial centers, including Toronto. Once old 19th-century factories are now serving as chic and sought-after residential units. The first loft residents were mostly artists and younger people, but now we’re starting to see families and young professionals being equally eager to buy and live in a loft. Lofts are a special group of character homes with a rich historical background and 19th-century features that are highly cherished among today’s Toronto buyers.
The true original lofts are former industrial spaces and even if they've been renovated and turned into housing units, they have still retained numerous recognizable historical elements like the authentic brick walls, high ceilings, large floor-to-ceiling windows, etc. These lofts are called hard lofts and they can no longer be built in their original form. To make up for the shortage of the highly appealing hard lofts, developers started to replicate them in new construction buildings. The replicas are known as soft lofts and while they do resemble hard lofts with the unfinished polished concrete and exposed ducts, etc., they are not as authentic as the original ones. Developers sometimes fail to recreate the ceiling height or the authentic windows, and besides that, they can’t use the same kind of material because it’s not being produced anymore.
What Makes Lofts Desirable?
Besides having lots of character, lofts are also usually found in the best downtown locations and within walking distance from major amenities, like schools, kindergartens, major companies, the nightlife scene, etc. For these reasons, and more, demand is very high for this type of real estate. Since supply is scarce and demand is high (especially for hard lofts), they’re often pricier than a standard condominium. Competition for lofts is fierce, and they tend to sell fast, often over asking. While hard loft buyers can hope for a lot of natural light thanks to the large windows, they can’t count on having a balcony because of the loft structure and their original purpose being warehouses, manufacturing plants and factories. Renters and buyers should also know that the elevators could be somewhat smaller and slower than in high-rise and newer condos.
Downtown Toronto Lofts
Toronto is a true loft city with several loft buildings (both, hard and soft) and all of them have preserved the original features despite additions like hot tubs, guest suites, a concierge or gyms. The Toy Factory Lofts, for example, are recognizable by their thick brick walls and steel ceiling beams. Featuring units up to 2,000 square feet, they offer lots of space to their Liberty Village residents.
Just across the street from Trinity Bellwoods Park is yet another great loft building - the Candy Factory Lofts. The mixture of modern and industrial features (open concept layouts, wooden ceilings, hardwood floors, brick walls, and post and beam construction) and the building’s location, on Queen Street West, make it a top choice for many Torontonians. Similarly, the Merchandise Lofts near Dundas and Church, steps from the Eaton Centre, and in another prime Downtown Toronto location, are equally appealing. They also include new and old elements, e.g., 12’ ceilings, concrete columns, but also a rooftop patio, basketball court and indoor pool.
Lofts are simply an amazing phenomenon in today’s real estate market, often associated with a chic and unique lifestyle.
If you are more of a Downtown condo person, here’s what you need to know about low and high-rise condos.