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Investment Potential Adds Up at LeMine's Central Park Ajax

Toronto's ever-increasing home prices continue to add fuel to the fire for many surrounding housing markets in the Greater Toronto Area. Located just 35 minutes from Union Station by GO train, Ajax offers a high quality of life with reduced housing costs.Local recreation offerings include 37 soccer fields, 18 baseball diamonds, 6 indoor icerinks, and 7 kilometres of beautiful lakefront parks tied together by the Waterfront Trail.

Central Park Ajax, image courtesy of LeMine Investment Group

Ajax will soon be getting a major addition of vitality in the form of LeMine Investment Group's Central Park Ajax, a new mixed-use development attractive to both end user homebuyers and investors. Several factors are making it an attractive investment, with rapidly appreciating home prices and proximity to the city among the most obvious. With zoning in place and the site plan for the development approved, the lack of remaining hurdles in the planning and approvals process hints at a faster turnaround for the final product to be built.
Figures from Statistics Canada show that Ajax’s 10-year population growth of 48.6% iswell over three times the provincial rate of 13.2%, and over four times the national growthrate of 12%. In the same ten-year timeframe, Ajax’s population between the ages of 20and 29 has grown 71%. Overall, Ajax's population is young and active, with a local averageage of 36.

Ajax population growth, image courtesy of LeMine Investment Group

According to the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB), Ajax witnessed the highest real estate appreciation rates in the GTA between 2012 and 2015, at 33%, compared with Toronto’s rate of 22.53%. TREB also cites Ajax properties’ rental income ROI as 36% higher than Toronto, with average purchase pay-off times of 18.3 years versus Toronto’s 24.8 years.

Rental income ROI, appreciation rate, and selling speed comparison, image courtesy of LeMine Investment Group

Affordability is clearly a major draw for this market as home prices in the central GTA continue to rise. It currently takes an average of 8.1 years for a Toronto homeowner to pay off their property, in contrast with just the 4.6 years average for Ajax. This can be partially attributed to Ajax’s average household income of $82,613, 20% higher than the Toronto average of $69,321. Speed of sales is another factor driving investors east on the 401, with TREB analysis showing that Ajax properties are on the market for an average of just 13 days, 10 less than the 23 day average Toronto properties stay on the market.

Time to pay off a property in Ajax vs Toronto, image courtesy of LeMine Investment Group

Though rents for one-bedroom units in Ajax between 2012 and 2015 are still well below the average Toronto rate, the average rental income increase of 34% greatly exceeds Toronto’s 1% increase during the same period.

Average rental income increase of Ajax versus other markets, image courtesy of LeMine Investment Group

It's a win-win here: LeMine's Central Park Ajax will benefit from Ajax's qualities, while contributing to Ajax's ongoing improvement itself. More information and renderings can be found in the project's dataBase file, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum threads, or leave a comment using the space provided at the bottom of this page.


NEW CONDO GUIDE

Where Do You Begin When Designing A Master-Planned Community?

Attempting to build a vision of an entirely new community can be seen as a daunting challenge. This task needs to be embraced as a rare opportunity in setting forth a neighbourhood of life and activity for the generations who will live there and call it home.
Thomas Liu, President and CEO of Lemine Investment Group, is just such a man that embraced this challenge. This real estate expert has envisioned, designed and created a new master planned community, destined to be a transformational development in the heart of an entire community.
Lemine is in charge of developing a true mixed-use community, to be built on an 18 acre site in Toronto’s east end. Statistics indicated that this area ax is now the fastest growing area in Ontario and those demographics played a large part in how the entire concept was approached. It begins with demographics, says Liu. You need to fully understand who lives in the area and what type of development are they seeking.
In this specific example, Ajax now has a population of 130,000, which has risen in the last 20 years by 48.6 per cent, versus just 13.2 per cent for the rest of Ontario. Most importantly, the average age in Ajax is just 36 years old, with a 57.5 per cent rise in the 20-29 age group in just the last five years, and a younger population growth of 71 per cent in the last ten years.
Furthermore, this thriving community also boasts household incomes which are 30 to 40 per cent higher than Toronto. Local homes sold more than 33 per cent faster than in the rest of the GTA, on average in just 13 days, realizing 99 per cent of their asking price with rental incomes from residential properties an average of 36 per cent higher than the rest of the GTA.
“We were quite amazed when we looked at the statistics, but we certainly understood what they were telling us,” said Liu. “It was clear that we needed to create a dynamic, exciting, urban lifestyle, something that has not previously existed. We realized that this was a community that was poised to accept a completely different way of living and working. And our job was to introduce something creative, fresh and original. One of the things we did was to make all of the first floor spaces into retail stores. That, in itself, is something new for this area.”
“We decided to bring in bistros and cafes, high end food shops, restaurants and retail, which is exactly what this young, vibrant population wants and has been missing. In any master planned community, you have to address the wants and needs of those who live there now and will be drawn there in the future. A dynamic and pedestrian-friendly urban environment, will bring a certain style and sophistication and that’s the mark of any successful community.” Liu added.
As time goes on and development progresses, some of the thinking in any master planned community may change. To be fluid and flexible is key.
“Any good, experienced developer is always ready to react to changing market conditions or demographics,” says Liu. “We may find as we move through our process that we need more commercial space as it is in such huge demand in the Durham Region, or perhaps the popularity of our condominiums means we build more residential. We will always be cognisant to the marketplace, which is so young, vibrant and evolving.”
Central Park Ajax will certainly be a testament to the reputation of Thomas Liu and his award-winning Lemine Investment Group.


URBAN TORONTO

Previewing the Presentation Centre for Central Park Ajax


April 21, 2016 2:20 pm

It has been just shy of two years since we covered the plans to redevelop an aging strip mall near Ajax GO station into a new mixed-use, master planned community that aims to create a new downtown for the suburban city to the East of Toronto. Since then, the site has changed hands and is now owned by LeMine Investment Group, who are spearheading an adapted version of the original plan. The project now features a new design by Kirkor Architects Planners , and has been rebranded with the moniker 'Central Park Ajax’.

Rendering of Central Park Ajax, image courtesy of LeMine Investment Group

LeMine is now gearing up for the project's sales launch with the construction of a presentation centre at the northeast corner of the site, occupying a portion of the surface parking lot serving the strip mall at the southwest corner of Station Street and Harwood Avenue. With the presentation centre's opening just a few weeks away, we were given the opportunity to preview the space as work continues on finishing touches.

Inside the project's presentation centre, image by Jack Landau

The space combines high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling glazing on the south, east, and west exposures to create a light-filled environment. At the centre of the presentation centre, a scale model of the development's first 10-storey phase--created by Myles Burke Architectural Models-- will help visitors visualize the completed development. The model, which we will cover in greater detail in a follow-up article, also highlights the project's generous contributions to the public realm. In an area currently domina ted by cars, creating walkable environments is a crucial 'step' in fostering a more vibrant public realm.

Scale model at the Central Park Ajax presentation centre, image by Jack Landau

Another prominent feature in the presentation centre is the large sixteen-screen display. Among the first things visitors will see upon entering--the wraps were literally just coming off when we were there--the display shows a selection of promotional videos highlighting the surrounding neighbourhood and the project's architecture.

16-screen display at the Central Park Ajax presentation centre, image by Jack Landau

Visitors can also get a preview of the suite finishes via two semi-enclosed vignettes, one displaying a kitchen layout and another displaying a bathroom layout. At the time of our visit earlier in the week, work on the vignettes' finishing touches was nearly complete.

Kitchen vignette at the Central Park Ajax presentation centre, image by Jack Landau

We will be back soon with more information about the project. In the meanwhile, additional information and renderings can be found in the project's dataBase file, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum threads, or leave a comment using the space provided at the bottom of this page.

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