The Annex is one of Toronto’s oldest neighbourhoods, bordered by Bloor St. to the south, Dupont to the north, Avenue to the east, and Bathurst to the west.
It’s a popular hub for students, fraternities and University of Toronto faculty, since the school is just a quick jaunt south of Bloor. Still, the average income is statistically higher than what the average Torontonian makes.
Interestingly, the Annex is world-famous for its architecture. Most buildings in the area, as well as areas in Cabbagetown and Corktown, are Victorian- and Edwardian-style single-family homes, with Modernist updates. The style has lent the term “Annex-style” to Canadian and International architectural lingo.
Still, is it a good place to invest?
The average income of Annex residents is relatively high. Since the prices of condos and real estate projects in the area are higher than in neighbourhoods slightly outside of the downtown core, like Etobicoke, it’s important that renters are able to afford a higher rental price, too. Average income is a good indication that they can.
The Annex is also a hugely influential neighbourhood as far as Toronto culture goes. It’s well known for its broad mix of innovative resto-concepts (Snakes and Lagers, The Warehouse), cinemas (Hot Docs), and more. The AGO and ROM are nearby, too. It’s a draw to live in the neighbourhood for those who like to feel like they’re near the beating heart of the city’s art scene.
It’s just… so cool.
This may not be a bad thing for everyone, so I apologize in advance, but here goes: there is a large portion of students who make the Annex their home.
With U of T so close by, it makes sense. But this also means that fraternities and multi-student housing units are a common sight. Some renters might not be too keen on waking up to a neighbouring kegger on St. Paddy’s.
The Annex is also a neighbourhood in-between. Yorkville, to the east, has more higher-end shops, more expensive condos, and more organic juice bars. Seaton Village, to the west, is cheaper and more diverse - a draw to many Torontonians who feel connected to a pre-Drake, “authentic” Toronto identity.
For some, these nearby neighbourhoods do what the Annex does, just better. It’s a case for good branding. But in any case, as a condo owner you may be competing with nearby owners for residents who feel connected to these identities.
Because of the “Bad”, above, Annex condo investments are about one thing, and one thing only: the numbers.
Buying a one-bedroom condo for a below-market price is a steal. Because of the popularity of the neighbourhood, the local identity, and the sheer proximity to everything Toronto, I’d almost universally say go for it.
But do the math, first.
You need to be able to compete for tenants with your neighbours, as well as with your neighbourhood neighbours. The best way to do this is by offering a rental for a great price. The only way to do that? Get your monthly costs as low as they can go.
To note: the Annex is a super-hot AirBnB neighbourhood. While this isn’t something I normally recommend to my clients - especially those looking for hands-off investments - it’s an interesting opportunity. If you’re looking to get into the short-term rental business, I’d say it’s probably one of the best places to look.
Have any questions? Have experience with renting an AirBnB? I’d love to chat about the Annex! Leave a note in the comments or send me an email, and we can go for coffee. On me!