There are many intriguing aspects of Canadian real estate, but for those in the market, there’s nothing quite like the anticipation of a pre-construction condominium. 

According to Baker Real Estate Incorporated, the topic of pre-con is one of the most exciting facets of new developments. The pre-construction phase allows buyers to create a custom living space by selecting their preferred features, like countertops or shower head styles, essentially "envisioning their future life — and all that entails.” 

Everyone loves summer in the city, so it's high time for a dive into what's happening in the current pre-con market -- with a little bit of friendly competition. Today, we'll explore the differences between the condo market of Toronto, and that of Montreal. (And ICYMI, we've also covered the rivalry between Toronto and Vancouver -- check it out here.)

Without any further ado, here’s how condo buyers compare in Toronto vs. Montreal:

READ: East vs West: How Condo Buyers Differ in Toronto and Vancouver

Who's Buying?

Let’s start by dividing buyers into two categories: Investors and end-users. 

Investors in Toronto have taken a liking to high-rise developments, while end-users prefer low-rise buildings. The city's core is now returning to its usual bustling vibe after almost three years of quiet. Investors are eager to get a slice of the pre-con high-rise cake, but notably, end-users aren't doing the same. Instead, they're showing more interest in low-rise projects.

Old Montreal is a highly sought-after neighbourhood, but until recently, due to building restrictions, it was a nearly-unattainable dream for many. Now, plans are solidifying for new high-rise condominiums within walking distance of the desired Old Montreal, which appeal to both investors and end-users. Baker reports that Montreal exhibits more of an affordable housing market for pre-construction, thus creating a market that's more accessible than Toronto's for investors and end-users alike.

In both cities, the current buyer demographic is vast, and includes a substantial surge in “right-sizers" between the ages of 55 and 75; these buyers are often interested in penthouses and larger $1.5-2M units. Toronto is also seeing a rise in first-time condo buyers -- the most affordable entry point to the homeowners market.

...And Where?

CrowncommunitiesNarrative Condos (Baker Real Estate Incorporated)

Location is everything when buying any property. As previously mentioned, Old Montreal is a hot spot for buyers right now, offering an array of historical attractions, shopping, restaurants, beautiful architecture, and more.

Similar to Montreal, Toronto buyers want to be near the downtown core as "normalcy" returns. Baker reports that in both cities, a primary must-have for buyers is walkability.

What's Hot?

The Baker team has observed that both investors and end-users in Toronto and Montreal seek similar features in a building -- as a whole, in individual units, and in outdoor spaces. In Toronto, gardens have gained buyer interest -- possibly a direct result of the pandemic and access to the outdoors. Toronto buyers are also keen on balconies directly off main living spaces, pool-side cabanas, and dens.

In Montreal, buyers crave views first and foremost. They're also seeking expansive closets, outdoor space, and proximity to transit.

Concerning bathroom and kitchen details, there are some preferential differences between the cities' buyers, but also common trends. Montreal buyers are looking for a bathroom with heated floors, European wall-mounted toilets, and an integrated vanity, while Toronto favours a separate tub and shower, decent storage, and a heat recovery system. 

Where kitchens are concerned, Montreal buyers seek integrated appliances, induction stovetops, and Corian countertops (which are reportedly making a major comeback). In Toronto, buyers are looking for integrated appliances as well, but also islands that offer up enough seating space that a dining table may not be required.

Pool1Mansfield Condos (Baker Real Estate Incorporated)

For those on the fence about which city comes out on top (for you), a few final notes may help seal the deal:

Toronto is Canada's largest city, while Montreal doesn't have a foreign buyers' tax. Toronto is home to the tallest of tall buildings -- 60+ storeys isn't unusual, and Baker is currently selling suites at FORMA, a 73- and 80-storey project by Frank Gehry -- while Montreal is home to condominiums with wine lockers and wine rooms. In Toronto, and Ontario at large, taxes are included in a condo's purchase price. This isn't the case in Montreal, so those additional costs should be accounted for.

Now, after learning about how Toronto differs from both Montreal and Vancouver, you've just one thing left to do: decide which city to call home. Between the hustle and bustle of Toronto, the laid-back life of Vancouver, and the European influences of Montreal, Canada's metropolises serve up something for everyone.

This article was produced in partnership with STOREYS Custom Studio.