By Alonzo Aldaba
In recent years, housing prices in Toronto seem to be getting higher and higher. But that leaves the question, what homes are still affordable? A quick look on realtor.ca would reveal that some homes, mainly condos, can still be bought under $400,000.
A two bedroom condo on Sunrise Ave. in the Victoria Park and Eglinton area is for sale for $399,900. It’s a first floor unit with all the appliances included. Taxes are less than $100 a month and the condo fees are $618 a month. With 5% down ($19,995) , the mortgage payments would be just under $1700 per month. The total cost per month would be about $2400, comparable to rent.
Stephen Bael, a real-estate representative for two years, says there are reasons why condos are cheaper.
“There are different variables that affect the prices of homes in the GTA. The type of home is the biggest factor. Conventionally, detached or semi-detached homes in the GTA will almost certainly be priced at or above one million dollars. There are still Townhouses in the GTA that are available for under one million dollars. The most likely type of home that you can find in the GTA that go for under one million dollars are condominium apartments. Although, like I said there are other factors that contribute to the prices of these homes either being higher or lower in the pricing spectrum. For example, highly sought-after areas like the Bayview area or Richmond Hill will have homes more expensive than other areas in the GTA. Have you ever heard the term “location location location”? That is certainly true when it comes to housing prices in the GTA.”
According to statistics released by the Toronto Regional Real-estate Board (TRREB) most types of homes sold between the prices of $400,000 and $1,000,000 are condo apartments, with the total amount of condos sold being 2,772 in February of 2022, and 4,785 as of 2022 as a whole.
According to Bael, another reason why condos cost less is “.. because of the simple fact that it takes up less space or it’s smaller in size compared to the other types of homes.”
“Condos are usually more popular with the younger generation or young adults. Individuals who are single, in long-term relationships but not married, and married with no children or one child usually predominate the make-up of condo owners. The biggest factor of condos being popular with these buyers is the price and its locations. Condos are usually situated near restaurants and malls or places that are known for social gathering, which is important for the younger generation.” according to Bael.
Perhaps the most unusual listing on MLS (the multiple listing service) for less than $400,000 is a houseboat at Bluffers park at the foot of Brimley Rd in Scarborough. It’s listed at $335,000 and is described as a cottage in the city. It has one bedroom and a den, as well as a rooftop deck. The taxes are only $58 a month and the maintenance fees are $860 a month. The catch is that most banks won’t give you a mortgage for a floating home.
All of this information is important for people who are looking for homes in Toronto. One of them being Vanessa Manabat. She says she moved to the city because “I like Toronto because of its cultural diversity. Everything is accessible from schools, hospitals, markets, and restaurants. Toronto is considered the 4th safest city in the world. The main reason is my work here.”
Before this, she lived in “a one bedroom condo that is only 500 square feet that cost me $1,800 in North York.”
In regards to the current prices that most homes aside from condos go for, she says,
“I find it is a ridiculous price. The housing market within 4 years has increased 22% . Example if you want to buy a house in Toronto in 2018 that’s worth $835,000 then today the same house is worth over 1 million. With our household income of less than $150,000 we can only buy a house or condo that’s worth more than a million we cannot surpass $1.1million. In some ways, living close to where I work makes sense. I don’t have to pay for a car. Having a car costs roughly around 1k per month (maintenance, gas, car payments, insurance). If I think about it, I don’t feel so bad paying this much money on real estate.”
As the housing market continues to change, who knows how long these condos will remain as affordable as they are, or how long they’ll be available for buyers, especially those who want to live in the big city for a number of reasons.