I live in a six-bedroom apartment with a backyard.
I am also a member of the Canadian Association of Realtors.
When the CAs annual convention begins in September, I will be among the first people in attendance.
The association is Canada’s largest and most diverse property-advisory organization, with members representing every Canadian province and territory, and a diverse range of income levels.
My condo is located in a high-density residential area that also has a school, an art museum, a large park and a bike path.
“This is the first time I’ve been to a convention like this,” I said to a fellow renter who also works for a real estate brokerage.
We were seated at a table at a small outdoor patio with a view of Toronto Bay, a green space that is home to many species of plants.
It is not a typical condo.
Instead of a typical kitchenette and refrigerator, the kitchen is set up with a sink, a dishwasher and microwave.
There is also a closet.
For a person with a family, this was the perfect place to work.
As we talked, I noticed that the people sitting across from us were all wearing matching T-shirts with the same slogan: “Eats and sleeps.”
The CAs logo appears on their backpacks.
Most of the people in the room were on their phones and had the same idea: Why not just rent a unit that could fit all of them?
It was a smart idea.
The number of apartments in the city is soaring.
Toronto’s condo market is up more than 20 per cent over the past three years.
Even with a lot of people in condos, there are still a lot more people who are renting than buying, said David Purdy, the president of the association’s Toronto office.
In 2015, there were about 1,400 units of rental in the Toronto area, compared to 2,300 in 2014, according to data compiled by Realtor.ca.
According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, there will be 4,600 more units in the market by 2023, up from 3,400.
With that increase, the condo market could potentially be worth $4.5 billion, according Purdy.
To be sure, many people have lived in condos before.
A survey by real estate agents in Vancouver found that only 7 per cent of renters and owners who responded said they have rented in the past year.
But those who said they had lived in a condo before said they were buying because they saw the market shift in Toronto and were desperate for something to occupy their spare time.
Purdy said the condo boom has made it harder for people to find good-quality rental properties, with landlords increasingly searching for properties that they can sell to investors.
Some landlords are now looking to fill the void left by the condo bubble by offering apartments to buyers who can’t afford them.
While a majority of landlords said they would like to offer a rental property to someone, that hasn’t happened in a significant way, Purdy said.
Rents have jumped because of rising interest rates.
So far, landlords are paying less than they used to, and they are getting a higher return on their investments, he said.
But the real estate market is still far from perfect.
Despite some signs of recovery, many units are still unoccupied.
The median price of a unit in the 416 area, where most of the market is located, is now over $1.2 million, according Realtour.com.
And it is unclear whether the condo trend will continue.
The condo bubble has helped drive the price of houses to record levels, according a report by the Bank of Montreal.
Real estate prices have soared in Toronto for years.
But many people, especially millennials, are leaving the city to find better options elsewhere.