Why this insurance advisor bought an investment property downtown

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“I saw a one-bed-plus-den in Liberty Village for $575,000, and I scooped it up”: Why this insurance advisor bought an investment property downtown

Jamal Newman, a 29-year-old insurance advisor, had been planning on entering the real estate market for three years—he just needed the right opportunity. He told us why he bought his investment property in downtown Toronto, and why he’s confident the core is coming back.

As told to Andrea Yu

“I spent three years thinking about buying an investment property—either a condo in Toronto or a house in a secondary market. My goal was to eventually build up a portfolio of investment properties, and the pandemic presented a great opportunity to start doing that. Interest rates were low and prices were low. Historically, condo prices have steadily gone up, so I figured it would be a good long-term investment. And I like that downtown Toronto has a ton of great restaurants and festivals (in normal times, of course). It’s convenient to get around, and you don’t need a car.

“I’d been living with my mother in Brampton for a few years, so I’d been able to save up some money. In July 2020, I set a budget of $600,000 and started looking at condos in Toronto. I wanted a unit that would be easy to rent, so I focused on one-bed-plus-den units since I figured they’d be popular among singles and couples who needed the extra space to work from home. I homed in on Liberty Village: it’s downtown, close to the lake and has a lot of shopping and restaurants nearby.

“In December 2020, I saw a one-bed-plus-den in a new building listed for $575,000. It has modern finishes, stainless steel appliances and soft-close cupboards. There’s a balcony with a view of the lake. And the open-concept den is a great spot to set up a home office. The building has a security desk, a gym, pool and a party room, which will be nice to have after the pandemic.

“The market was slow at the time, so I got the unit for $568,500. At the same time, I knew that the rental market was at an all-time low. If I signed a tenant during the pandemic, I’d be locked into a lease that’s under market value. Instead, I’m going to wait it out. When life picks up again, I might lease the property to a tenant or rent it out on Airbnb.

“Until then, I’m living in the Liberty Village unit. I’ve also purchased a one-bedroom condo near Kipling Station for $362,900 and a duplex in Hamilton for $570,000. I’ve rented out the basement unit to a tenant, which covers most of my costs for that property. Once the market picks up in Toronto, my fiancé and I will move into the upper unit and rent out the downtown condo.

“Toronto is a desired city. And even though it’s been brought to its knees, I believe it will recover. The effects of Covid won’t last forever. We’re already starting to see improvements in the housing market. In February 2021, just two months after I bought my place, a similar unit in my building sold for almost $30,000 more than I paid. I’m excited to start building my real estate portfolio. I’m in it for the long-term.”