Why Toronto is a great city to make a home in
The city of Toronto chose “Diversity our strength” as their motto. There are no other Canadian cities that even come close to matching the multiculturalism, progressiveness, and openness of spirit characteristic to Toronto. It’s for precisely this reason that the bustling city has enjoyed economic success and is one of the fastest-growing cities in North America. It’s no wonder that so many people want to live there and that real estate in Toronto is considered so valuable.
Toronto is conveniently and expertly connected by a comprehensive and wide-ranging transportation network made up of subway stations, streetcars, and buses that cover the entire Greater Toronto Area (GTA), making the endless cultural and recreational activities the city has to offer that much easier to navigate. Many immigrant communities have brought their traditions, languages, and music to the forefront. Combined with the many museums, theatres, festival events, and sports activities, anyone exploring the real estate market in the Toronto area is also exploring energetic city life. Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum is world-renowned, as is the Art Gallery of Ontario which is one of North America’s largest galleries. Toronto is also the world’s third-largest centre for English-language theatre, after London and New York. Every September, the Toronto International Film Festival comes to town, capturing the hearts and minds of film lovers everywhere.
Sports fans would also do well to follow home sales and the housing market in Toronto. The Toronto Maple Leafs satisfy the city’s appetite for hockey, the Blue Jays for baseball, Toronto Raptors for basketball, along with many other city teams that attract tourists every year, while the Honda Indy attracts fans of auto racing each July.
Real Estate News: the Toronto market at a glance
For many years, Toronto has been known for its sizzling hot real estate market. Housing starts and home prices have been both been high. In January 2017, the average GTA home price was $768,301, and the months that followed were similarly high. To slow down the market slightly and maintain accessibility levels, the Ontario government put in place several housing rules in April 2017, also known as Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan. Although the housing rules have stirred up some controversy, most agree that the Toronto real estate market will continue to thrive for the foreseeable future. Although the Toronto real estate market may be cooling down in response to the measures, this was the exactly the intended effect.
According to the Toronto Star, price drops in September decreased the Teranet–National Bank national composite house price index. September was the first posted monthly decline since January of 2016. Coupled with rising interest rates and other housing rules being implemented, some economists are concerned for the health of the market.
Included in the Plan is the foreign buyer’s tax, a vacancy tax, a mortgage stress test, and other rent control measures. TD Bank does expect prices to fall, sure, but only back to where they were a year ago. The Toronto Real Estate Board reports that the average Toronto house price in August — $732,292 was still 3% higher than August 2016 meaning that real estate news in Toronto is still good news.
Real Estate News: Toronto
The Toronto Real Estate Board is asking the city to proceed with caution regarding the possible tax on vacant homes. The Board is not convinced that the Ontario government’s vacancy tax will have the intended effect of increasing the supply of rental housing. It has also raised the issue of private property rights.
The government foreign buyer’s tax includes a 15% tax on foreign buyers. The idea is to increase the amount of affordable housing available in the city. RBC economist Robert Hogue says that Toronto is likely to mimic Vancouver’s experience in the wake of this market-cooling policy. Sales increased 22.3% in August from the same month last year, when the BC government first introduced a similar foreign buyer’s tax. International investors accounted for 9.1% of monthly home sales recently in the York Region and 7.2% in the city of Toronto. Some believe this is evidence that those buyers are not the driving force behind the area’s unsustainable prices, while others disagree and feel that these levels of foreign investment create enough extra demand to increase prices and push out local buyers.
Expanded mortgage stress tests are yet another measure in place as part of Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan. Under the new rules, home buyers who don’t need mortgage insurance (because they have a 20% downpayment) will have to show proof they will be able to meet their commitment if interest rates rise above the 5-year benchmark rate put out by the Bank of Canada, or 2% higher than their contracted mortgage rate, whichever is higher. This real estate news for Toronto has proven contentious to some.
Toronto bills itself as “the city of neighbourhoods” because in spite of how large and busy the city is, individual neighbourhoods continue to project a strong and vital presence. In a city very focused on real estate and the price of housing, it is the neighbourhood that is at the heart of Toronto’s identity. Toronto has over 240 unique neighbourhoods within its borders.
The Junction Triangle
The Junction Triangle is a very popular place to live. New businesses are opening up everywhere. There are multiple microbreweries in the area, and two supermarkets, as well as quality schools. The Museum of Contemporary Art will open early next year, and Metrolinx is building an elevated GO rail line for even better public transit.
Mimico offers life on the waterfront lifestyle a fraction of the home price of Toronto’s other lakeside regions, and it’s only 15 minutes to Union Station by train from the Mimico GO station. The community is close and comes together at folksy events like the annual Mimico Tulip Festival and a summer music series in the public square. Charming bungalows are among the affordable homes in the neighbourhood. Up-and-coming Mimico has made the real estate news in Toronto many times in recent years—with good reason.
Realtors are fond of The Beaches. Queen Street offers an abundance of shops and restaurants, closeness to downtown, and the endless fun of summer beach life. The boardwalks and parks are a definite bonus, as well as access to great schools. There is a strong sense of community and family—a great place to buy that next Toronto home.
One thing is for certain for buyers and sellers alike when it comes to the Toronto real estate market: following Toronto real estate news is usually a very promising exercise.