Etobicoke bungalows are especially attractive to independent home builders and renovators looking to renovate or rebuild. This has been a trend across several key Etobicoke neighbourhoods for the past 20-years and will continue to accelerate in years to come. The builders see this as a full-time job and an excellent way to make money. They look to add value to the property and resell at a profit, usually building “on-spec”, without a future homeowner. They look to market the finished home to prospective buyers.
Why is This Popular in Etobicoke
Much of Etobicoke was built through the 1950’s, based on a suburban theme. Moving away from the narrower lots found in Downtown Toronto, Etobicoke homes will be typically found with 40, 50 and 60 foot wide lots with between 100 and 200 feet of depth, a driveway and perhaps a separate garage structure or an attached garage. The homes were modest in size compared to what is being constructed today, generally targeted to middle-class buyers. There were large backyards, front yards and driveways. (Allow me to generalize a bit and skip over a few of the more exclusive neighbourhoods). Now some 70-years later, the original owners of these homes have mostly all passed away. Often the second generation of owners who might have purchased these homes through the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s are also moving on.
The economics of Toronto and Etobicoke has shifted dramatically. With the great population increase of the City, Etobicoke is no longer the modest suburb it was initially designed to be. The City has grown up all around it, resulting in a dramatic rise in the value of the land and the desirability of these local neighbourhoods. Today’s home buyers come with a different set of expectations than the people of the 1950’s. Homes need to be much bigger! Kitchens need an island, master bedrooms need to accommodate a king-sized bed and provide an ensuite bathroom and a walk-in closet and so on.
So, it is only natural that there is interest in revisiting these homes. The economics in Etobicoke is right for redevelopment. There is buyer demand for bigger homes, in close proximity to the Downtown core. So we see the modest 1950’s bungalows being replaced with modern homes. Interestingly, it is not the the big corporate builders, rather it is small independent builders taking on this work. Typically taking on one home at a time, or possibly overlapping the start of a new project with the end of the previous one.
Renovate or Rebuild
There are two main approaches builders take to these projects. The first approach is to renovate and work with the existing structure. That could be to add a second story to a bungalow, or to really reduce the existing home to little more than the existing foundations and two external brick walls and build an almost entirely new home on top of that base. The second approach is to demolish the existing home, excavate out a pit, pour new foundations and build a totally new home.
Some builders choose the renovate approach because it is simpler for them. Building a new home requires a “New Home Builder” license and has additional costs – a “New Home Owners Warranty” through the Ontario Government, development charges to The City of Toronto and the first buyer will pay HST on the purchase. Renovating can be done by any contractor, without these expenses. Either way, they need to work with an architect to develop the plans, obtain building permits and have all the necessary inspections completed along the way.
How Ralph Helps
If you are a builder looking for your next project, or a buyer looking to purchase a newly completed home, Ralph can assist you in selecting the right property that best suits your needs and negotiating a winning contract that properly protects your interests.