You’re saving for a down payment, keeping an eye on mortgage rates and you’ve used an “affordability calculator” online. You probably already know the magic number — how much you can afford to spend on a home in Toronto.
Don’t despair over headlines quoting an “average home” in the Toronto area costing almost $800,000 — there’s plenty available under that amount. Averages don’t tell the whole story. And while you can browse current listings in your price range, listing prices don’t tell the whole story either as many properties sell for more.
Whether your budget is $300K, $400K, $500K or $600K, we’ve rounded up Toronto’s inventory with the help of Hyder Owainati, marketing communications manager at TheRedPin.com Brokerage. At each price point, here’s what you can get, and where.
$300K — CONDOS
For singles, couples, first-time homebuyers and investors
“We’ve found that condos in the $300K range tend to be most sought after by first-time buyers, who value location over square footage, and investors looking for the biggest bang for their buck in terms of monthly rental income,” Owainati says.
Owainati notes that most downtown highrises at the $300K price point are studios, and one-bed, one-bath units that sit between 500 and 600 square feet, with no dens or parking spots. “While you may find a few condos above the 700-square-foot mark in the city’s core in the $300Ks, they’re more the exception than the rule,” he says, “and tend to be located in older buildings.”
If you want a “modern, one-bed highrise, chock full of amenities,” Owainati says excellent listings are still popping up in these neighbourhoods:
- Liberty Village
- Fort York
- North York
- North of Yonge & Eglinton
- King & Bathurst
- Lansdowne & Dupont
“Choices slightly dwindle closer to the subway line,” he adds. “But there are options east of Yonge, along Church and Jarvis Streets.”
If you want a larger space, are you willing to edge outside of the core?
“Mimico, out west, is a good spot for buyers in search of more spacious one-beds, with parking, in this price range,” Owainati says, “while the same is true for the neighbourhoods of Woburn and Bendale in Scarborough, where some newer, one-bed condos can even be found in the high $200Ks.”
The $300K range generally prices you out of two-bedroom condos, unless you’re quite outside of the core and far from the subway. But Owainati says “there’s no shortage of great one-beds to choose from.”
$400K — CONDOS AND TOWNHOMES
For singles, couples and young families
This next price point gets you more spacious condos and closer to transit.
“Condos with one bed, and some with dens, in the 500- to 600-square-foot range start becoming more ubiquitous downtown,” Owainati says.
He points to Bay Street and Church corridors as good options close to the subway line. “However, you may have to settle for an older building with higher maintenance fees.”
“Two-bedroom condo options only really open up when moving your search out of downtown however,” he says. “Mimico and Islington City Centre are condo neighbourhoods that commonly feature 800-plus square feet, two-bed condos in the higher end of the $400Ks. Further north in Willowdale, you’ll also begin finding more two-beds. However, your choices still largely hover around units sized well below 1,000 square feet.”
This price point also introduces condo townhouse options, largely in the east end.
“A mix of new and older two- to three-bedroom condo townhomes in Scarborough make an appearance in this price range,” Owainati says, “many of which offer sizeable floor plans above 1,000 square feet.”
Freehold townhomes are hard to come by, however, even in the suburbs. You might find something if you’re able to move out as far as Oshawa and Pickering.
$500K — DELUXE CONDOS, LOFTS, TOWNHOMES AND FARAWAY FREEHOLDS
For couples and families
The $500K budget makes shopping for a highrise easy, Owainati says. One-bedroom condos with dens are common in the core, including choice neighbourhoods such as Yonge & Dundas and Yorkville.
Two-bedroom condos show up in Liberty Village, the Harbourfront area south of Front Street (like CityPlace) and select buildings in the Entertainment District. “It’s worth noting, however, that two-bed options in downtown aren’t too spacious in the $500Ks,” Owainati says, “and many will hover around 800 square feet, which isn’t too big for a two-bedroom condo.”
Two-bedroom options continue north, around Finch and Yonge and Sheppard, he says.
Wandering outside of central Toronto, a half-million-dollar budget offers up truly family-sized condos and modern, trendy lofts.
“Westward in Mimico, condos start easily cracking the 1,000-square-foot mark and come complete with a parking spot, 2 bedrooms, 2 baths and a den,” Owainati says. “East of the DVP, a lot of condos shoot past 1,500 square feet, especially if they’re older. Condo hunters searching in trendy east-end neighbourhoods like Riverdale will also have a selection of chic soft lofts to pick from, though they may not be as spacious as more conventional highrises in the east.”
The freehold market is tough at $500K, Owainati says. As of December 2016, he says, fewer than 6 per cent of freeholds in Toronto sold below $550K. “So in this price range, your best bet is to stick with freehold townhomes in east side neighbourhoods like Malvern, or semi-detached residences further northwest, around Downsview Park. Most freeholds in the $500s usually are of the older variety, however, and may need some work done.”
“In suburban cities like Brampton and Milton, newer three-bedroom townhouses become far more achievable,” he says. “For those willing to spend well over an hour commuting to Toronto, Oshawa is certainly an option, if a detached home is the goal.”
$600K — FAMILY CONDOS, TOWNHOMES, DETACHED HOMES
For couples, urban families and larger families
“When breaking the $600K mark,” Owainati says, “snatching up a two-bed condo steps from the subway, along both Bay and Yonge Streets, becomes far more feasible. The same is true for two-bedroom condos with parking in the Entertainment District and along the downtown waterfront.”
Condo townhouses also start showing up at this price point in such neighbourhoods as Liberty Village and the Beach, as well as Hillcrest Village near Don Mills and Steeles.
“In terms of freeholds,” Owainati says, “more spacious three-bed, two-bath townhouses will start popping up in east end neighbourhoods like Clairlea-Birchmount and Milliken.”
Bungalows can also be found in Rexdale or Woburn in Scarborough.
“Two-storey, detached homes are far harder to find in this price range, however,” he says. “Some are dotted around Scarborough but tend to only feature one attached garage and closed floor plans that hover around 2,000 square feet. Lot sizes don’t tend to be generous either.”