Why buy just one swanky condo unit when you can combine multiple luxury living spaces? 

That’s the sentiment shared by a growing number of deep-pocketed purchasers in Toronto’s luxury condo market, as evidenced by the increasing popularity of mega-units.

These sprawling units are created by purchasing multiple units on a floor of a luxury building and renovating them to become one large, combined home, typically with over 3,000+ square footage. 

Andy Taylor, Senior Vice-President of Sales of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, says there are a few factors contributing to the rise in popularity of the luxury mega-unit. 

“First, I believe that the condo solution has always been popular for people owning multiple residential properties globally,” says Taylor. “A condo is a lock-and-leave solution with minimal concern for maintenance and security while you are away. Covid has also changed the way people live in their home spaces. Folks require larger spaces for home offices now and are also looking for additional spaces such as a home gym or fitness area. These larger suites allow for these additional areas which you cannot fit into smaller suites.”

With the pandemic, more privacy-focused condominiums are in hot demand right now, says Taylor. 

Furthermore, Taylor says that buyers coming from other international markets are, in a large part, used to condo living rather than a freehold house. “They are used to living in large condo spaces in other markets like New York, London, and Hong Kong and choose to find a similar solution here in Toronto,” he explains. 

One example of a recent eye-catching five-star Toronto mega unit sits atop of the 46th floor of the Ritz-Carlton and was recently listed for a cool $23.5M. 

44029279rA recently-listed mega-unit at the Ritz-Carlton Toronto. Image: Sotheby's International Realty Canada

The stunning abode is made up of what were once four distinct units and designed by Cheryl Krismer from the award-winning Crayon Design. Occupying 5845 sq ft. of living space, the 3+2-bedroom, five-bathroom home features things like a glass wine cellar, three sleek fireplaces (including one that’s double-sided), soaring ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows (with motorized blinds), a large gourmet kitchen with Poliform Italian cabinets and Wolf appliances, and two private elevators that open directly into the suite. 

Aside from the design features, Taylor says the “lifestyle, the level of service from the staff, and the views,” are what make this mega-unit so notable. The home offers continuous views of Lake Ontario to the South and city views to the north. 

RitzA recently-listed mega-unit at the Ritz-Carlton Toronto. Image: Sotheby's International Realty Canada

“I believe that when a buyer is considering purchasing a suite in a luxury building like the Ritz-Carlton, they are looking for both a large space with the highest level of finishes, and are also interested in the lifestyle it brings,” says Taylor. “The lifestyle is one that all of your needs are catered to as soon as you arrive; open the door of your car, and step into your suite. The level of service at The Ritz-Carlton is second to none and this is why these mega units are found in five-star buildings like this one.”

So, while purchasers of these mega-units can certainly afford a house in the Toronto market, they simply don’t want one. 

“The buyer of the mega-unit can fit a few profiles,” says Taylor. “They can be an established family or a new tech executive or an entrepreneur. A recent New York Times article talked about how Toronto is becoming a world-leading tech hub; a lot of these younger entrepreneurs don’t want the maintenance of a house and the condo solution is best for them. We’ve seen interest in the property from Toronto locals, as well as international interest. We have seen a number of buyers looking at Toronto from New York City recently as well.”

Ritz 2A recently-listed mega-unit at the Ritz-Carlton Toronto. Image: Sotheby's International Realty Canada

While luxurious mega-units may be hot properties right now, we likely won’t see too many of them in Toronto.

“I do not think the inventory of these large suites in luxury buildings will increase substantially anytime soon,” says Taylor. “There are not many new ‘true luxury’ buildings being developed, and in the ones that are, the number of suites over 4,000 sq ft. is still very limited. Condo units in five-star buildings over 4,000 sq. ft. will always be a special and hard-to-find asset.”

And this sense of rarity only contributes to their exclusivity factor.