By Lydia McNutt
As The Six turns 183 young on Monday, we wanted to take this opportunity to give some credence to the cliche that Torontonians really are at the centre of the universe. Here's why we love Toronto, and why people will continue to flock here in search of "home."
The local economy is chugging along at a good pace, the real estate market is hot, and our sports teams always play to a packed house -- even if they don't win every time.
On the international stage, our city is a shining star. Toronto was named North America's most sustainable city in 2016 as per Arcadis' Sustainable Cities Index; world's most livable city in 2015 according to Metropolis Magazine; and best place to live according to The Economist in 2015 (source: City of Toronto). As for 2017, the year is still young.
Toronto is the centre of the universe -- at least for the 2.79 million people who call it "home" and the 100,000 newcomers who flock to the Big Smoke every year. Toronto is Canada's most populous city (source: City of Toronto), and it's growing by leaps and bounds. According to recently released census data, Toronto's population swelled 6.2 per cent between 2011 and 2016, outpacing Canada's population growth rate of five per cent, and Ontario's growth rate of 4.6 per cent. (source: Statistics Canada)
That's a lot of people moving into this 630.2 km² area. You can certainly expect some spill-over into surrounding areas.
If you're on the home hunt this spring, then you're likely facing the urban/suburban debate, carefully weighing factors like cost, convenience and of course, commute times -- we are talking about Toronto, after all.
If you're already a homeowner in Toronto or surrounding areas, consider yourself lucky.
The reality is, Toronto is becoming harder to get into. Home prices are way up, demand is rising and supply is dwindling, thanks to land shortages courtesy of government policy limiting residential development in terms of area and type. With a resurgence in rental living as the affordable housing option of choice, competition and prices in the rental realm are rising too.
Could this be at a turning point for Toronto The Good?
If you're already a homeowner in Toronto or surrounding areas, consider yourself lucky. Logically, we know the real estate market has upswings and downturns. But if history teaches us anything, the steady price growth over the years hints at a golden nest egg. Ask your parents how much they paid for their home 30 years ago. Chances are, you'll be pleasantly surprised at the increase in value.
If you're hoping to buy a home in the GTA, but are facing affordability challenges, you're not alone. But don't count yourself out just yet.
You've got options
There's no denying the power of a great location. Where you choose to buy a home will impact your lifestyle while you live there, and the resale value when you sell the place one day. Location is the one thing you can't change about your home, so choose carefully.
Houses are seen in a suburb located north of Toronto in Vaughan, Canada, June 29, 2015. (Photo: Mark Blinch/Reuters)
With cost being a key determining factor in the home hunt, the housing landscape is changing to accommodate the high demand for Toronto living.
It's true that low-rise housing may not be readily available -- or affordable -- in the big city, but there are plenty of other housing options, such as condo suites and townhouses, that could put that coveted downtown Toronto address within your reach.
Do your research and consider your options -- and finances -- carefully. Buy now, while you still can. A downtown home in the world's most livable city could be well within reach.
For more essential real estate reading, visit YP NextHome.
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First, here's what the average price in Toronto will buy you in Toronto: A modest, three-bedroom, two-bath house near Chinatown. It features central air conditioning and two parking spots, and is asking $1,499,000. Listing.
In Montreal, you can get a named home for Toronto's average house price. The Maison Marguerite-Hay features three bedrooms and two baths on 3,600 square feet of living space. Asking $1,469,000. Listing.
This eight-bedroom, nine-bath property has nearly 11,000 square feet of finished space and comes with a sauna, gym, 3D cinema, pool table and hot tub, among many other features. At 900 square feet, the master bedroom alone is larger than the average Toronto condo. Asking $1.5 million. Listing.
This three-story house in Rockcliffe Park features four bedrooms and three baths, and is located near two of Ottawa's most prestigious private schools. Asking $1,575,000. Listing.
This nearly 2,400-square-foot home in central Saskatoon has three bedrooms and four baths, and come with amenities such as heated floors and a camera security system. Asking $1,575,000. Listing.
This three-bedroom, four-bathroom executive townhome is walking distance to downtown and features 11-foot ceilings and 2,081 square feet of finished space. Asking $1.45 million. Listing.
This four-bedroom house has more than 3,900 square feet of finished space and features ensuite baths in each bedroom. The master bedroom has its own wet bar and Jacuzzi. Asking $1,477,700. Listing.
Home sales have dropped off a cliff and prices have started to soften in Vancouver's housing market, but it remains Canada's priciest city for residential real estate. For $1.5 million, you can buy this three-bedroom, two-bath house with a two-bedroom basement suite, and 1,935 square feet of living space. Listing.
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