September 26, 2019 | emerging neighbourhood
Does this sound like you?
You or you and your partner would like to buy a house in Toronto. Not just anywhere, but somewhere in pre-amalgamation Toronto before Etobicoke, Scarborough and North York joined in. You can’t afford a million dollar house.
If so, then read on. I’m not suggesting a miracle here. Just a little focus on where to look.
We all know that buying a detached house for under a million is rare and becoming more rare by the day. Some first-time buyers have incredible high paying jobs or great access to parental funds that help clear the million dollar mark, but for many first-time buyers with good jobs and money saved, their mortgage qualification will leave you much lower than a million if you want to buy a house.
Let’s not forget houses, unlike some condos, may also require some pricey fixes or even a full-on tear-down at the lower price points. So, the questions then becomes, where can a first-time buyer find a quality house not only under a million, but under $800,000? Well, it won’t be easy… It will likely be a two bedroom. The house may not show well, and it still made need a few updates here and there.
First-time buyers should probably buy in a neighbourhood that doesn’t make the list of where the next coolest neighbourhood is happening in a given year. You need to be ahead of that. You want to buy in an emerging neighbourhood in the very early stages. You want to buy in the next Leslieville where prices have soared 71% in the past 5 years. You want to buy in the next Junction. You want to buy in the neighbourhood before it becomes popular.
There was a time when you would look east to find less expensive houses in Toronto. And that is still true if you go out to the Danforth Village or west/north of there into Scarborough, but my three neighbourhood suggestions are all in the west. It’s not that I have a preferential inclination for the west, but it’s just my feeling on where the next great emerging neighbourhoods will emerge. So, here are my three emerging Toronto neighbourhoods for 2019:
From transit desert to mobility hub, Mount Dennis is going to be very well connected very soon. It not only has a transit hub that is under construction right in this neighbourhood, but it has transit under construction without all the political jockeying and endless feasibility plans of the early stages. Just east of Eglinton and Weston Rd, there is going to be a super hub that connects riders to the Eglinton Crosstown and the UP Express. In other words, you can be at the Bloor/Dundas subway station in one stop or Union in two. You could also go to the airport in two stops. On the Eglinton line that is mostly underground and not subject to traffic, you will be brought east to the Yonge Line. Houses around here are still cheap, but they won’t be for long when all of the construction is done! So, get in early. It may feel far if you are used to downtown living at first, but once this hub is up and running, you’ll be set. More on this neighbourhood here .
The neighbourhood just west of Mount Dennis is another affordable pocket. Plus it is full of green space in all directions. Not as close to the new transit, but still a walk away. Houses here are well below the average Toronto market prices, but will improve in the years to come. Take note, though, that flooding can be an issue here (and in a few small pockets of Mount Dennis). And it’s not a problem that is going to be resolved any time soon. There are no flood mitigation measures planned by the City for this neighbourhood. So, buy with someone who knows the area. You don’t want to be too close to or in the floodplains of Black Creek. For flood areas, see this map.
Just east of Mount Dennis is another area I would suggest that runs from St. Clair to Eglinton. One of the main intersections at St Clair and Weston Rd is showing signs of new businesses and great city infrastructure. Two new condos are popping up at Old Weston Road and St Clair, which will really change this intersection. Further north, Rogers Road has the Portuguese mark on it in the same way that Little Portugal used to be about cheap and tasty custard tarts and an espresso. Houses are more expensive here than Mount Dennis or Rockcliffe/Smyth, but you are closer to a more lively and varied main street on St. Clair. Another plus: You are currently able to use the St Clair streetcar to go east/west with no car traffic. Unlike the Eglinton Crosstown, this project is done. No waiting. Learn more about the neighbourhood here.
Honorable mention goes to Weston, which has become more expensive with the help of the UP Express connection to downtown and the airport. Still cheaper than average though. Also, as mentioned above, you can go east and even stay out on the Danforth for under a million.
I should point out that these neighbourhoods are not great for condos yet. I think houses are the way to go here. Condos will be coming, though, in much larger numbers once the transit is built.
If you want a house for way less than $800,000, maybe even half as much, then Hamilton is still a great option for houses, though you will have to factor in the commute if you need to come to Toronto.
If you need well under $800K and want to stay in Toronto, then you can consider townhomes or condos or even a co-op.
But if you want a decent house in Toronto, then use this strategy to land in the right neighbourhood at the right time.