The first question most people ask us when they begin learning about lofts is: what’s the difference between a hard and soft loft? Luckily, the distinction is easy, and each has their own unique set of pros and cons. In addition, keep in mind that all lofts – hard and soft – are condos.
Hard lofts are your traditional loft – they’ve been converted from older structures such as factories or warehouses. As such, they often have great names like the Chocolate Factory Lofts or the Irwin Toy Factory Lofts.
Hard lofts are considered to be more “authentic.” Their sought-after features like thick wooden beams and exposed brick are leftover from when the building was a functioning factory or warehouse. In other words, hard lofts have history and character.
The best thing about hard lofts is that there are only so many buildings in Toronto that can be converted into them, making them more rare and unique. This means the market will never be over-saturated with hard lofts and supply and demand will always be in their favour, allowing them to retain their value well.
Hard lofts are more expensive than soft lofts or other types of condos, particularly because of exclusivity and high demand.
Hard lofts don’t have as many amenities as a regular condo or soft loft. You are less likely to find a balcony – although shared terraces are common – gym or swimming pool in a hard loft building. However, this can also be a plus because fewer amenities means lower monthly maintenance fees.
Soft lofts are newer condos that have been designed to have the same “look” as hard lofts.
Soft lofts are more affordable than hard lofts, and comparable to other condos in regards to price per square foot.
Most soft lofts are less than five years old. This means that they are solidly built and few have the structural problems that could be found in older buildings.
Aside from the obvious historic authenticity factor, many soft lofts are identical to hard lofts.
Most soft lofts have balconies and plenty of building amenities.
Soft lofts are sometimes considered to be “fake” and trying to mimic hard lofts without really “getting it” or having the same historical value. There are some gimmicky ones out there, but there are also those that are stunning and will satisfy any loft lover.
Both of these types of lofts can fit your budget depending on where you want to live and what exactly you’re looking for. But just like with any condo building, each type of loft has its share of both reputable buildings and lemons with structural issues.
If you’d like assistance in weighing your options and coming up with a short list of what we know to be the best lofts consider, feel free to contact us. We’d be happy to help!
- Paul Stavro-Beauchamp &Robert Van Rhijn