Living in a big city like Toronto comes with plenty of advantages. There’s lots of nightlife and restaurants, numerous shops to peruse and, of course, there are 158 unique communities to choose from.
With so many options for potential buyers and renters, Toronto Life teamed with Environics Analytics to determine the city’s best neighbourhoods to live in. The study considered all factors, from housing affordability and safety rates to education, employment and transit.
The study is quite revealing if you’re looking at the most affordable places to live in the city, too.
The 10 Most Affordable Neighbourhoods in Toronto
Affordability is relative, rent is rising and interest rates remain high. Yet one key takeaway from this study is that there are still homes available in Toronto for under a million dollars. If evaluating neighbourhoods in The Six based on housing alone, here are the Top 10 most affordable areas:
- Bridle Path-Sunnybrook-York Mills
- Kingsway South
- Lawrence Park South
- Centennial Scarborough
- Rosedale-Moore Park
- Lawrence Park North
- St. Andrew-Windfields
- Forest Hill South
However, this isn’t the complete picture. The study based its housing score on affordability (cost versus income), average primary real estate value and homeownership rate. But there are other factors to consider when looking for an affordable home.
The Cost of Renting in Toronto
According to the survey, the cheapest place to rent in Toronto is Yorkdale-Glen Park. Tenants currently pay an average of $1,122 monthly for a one-bedroom apartment.
The most expensive places to rent are Bayview Wood-Steeles and Hillcrest Village. There, one-bedroom apartments go for $2,365 a month.
Looking to live among other renters? Toronto Life reveals the highest percentage of renters live in the following neighbourhoods:
- North St. James Town (88.6 per cent)
- Thorncliffe (85.3 per cent)
- South Parkdale (84.1 per cent)
- North Toronto (80.8 per cent)
- Church-Wellesley (75.3 per cent)
The Cost of Owning in the City
The survey also looked at the city’s most affordable places to buy, revealing that the most expensive houses are in Rosedale-Moore Park. There, the average detached home price is a staggering $4,718,000.
Conversely, the cheapest detached homes are in Rockcliffe-Smythe. There, a new abode will cost you an average of $991,000.
If you want to settle in a neighbourhood that’s brimming with fellow owners, the study revealed that these are the Top 5 areas where the highest percentage of owners live:
- Centennial Scarborough (91.8 per cent)
- Milliken (87.4 per cent)
- Bridle Path-Sunnybrook-York Mills (87 per cent)
- Highland Creek (85.7 per cent)
- Princess-Rosethorn (84.6 per cent)
Location, Location, Location
The survey also revealed that when it comes to location, the east end is slightly more affordable to buy into than the west end when you consider all types of residential properties, including condos.
It also revealed that purchasing a home downtown is cheaper than in the suburbs due to the number of condos south of the 401.
If you’re looking for new housing, the top neighbourhoods featuring properties built in 2016 or later are Wellington Place, Henry Farm, North Toronto, Downtown Yonge East and Regent Park.
Those who want older housing can look in Runnymede-Bloor West Village, Corso Italia-Davenport, North Riverdale, Palmerston-Little Italy and Danforth. Those neighbourhoods feature the oldest homes, built pre-1961.
There are tons of benefits to living the condo life. Built-in amenities, proximity to transit and no driveways to shovel are some of them. If you’re looking to live in a neighbourhood with more high-rise living options, the study revealed the following areas have the highest number of them.
- Harbourfront-CityPlace (99.6 per cent)
- Yonge-Bay Corridor (99.6 per cent)
- Wellington Place (97.3 per cent)
- Bay-Cloverhill (96.8 per cent)
- Downtown Yonge East (95.6 per cent)
- Centennial Scarborough (0 per cent)
- Corso Italia-Davenport (0 per cent)
- Highland Creek (0 per cent)
- Runnymede-Bloor West Village (0 per cent)
- Morningside Heights (0.7 per cent)
Those looking for a long-term investment should also consider whether the neighbourhood they’re looking at will increase or decrease in value over time. While no one can predict the future, the survey did look into which areas had the fastest-rising property values and whether any neighbourhoods saw a price drop over the past five years.
It turns out, The Annex is the only neighbourhood to dip, dropping 6.64 per cent since 2018. Meanwhile, condo prices have increased across the board during that same period. The good news? This study predicts we may start to see those prices level off.
Overall, the study found that prices increased the most in Oakridge and Birchcliffe-Cliffside, climbing 110.13 per cent higher over the past five years.
Meanwhile, Scarborough Village and Guildwood experienced the fastest-rising property values in the city, increasing 72.5 per cent in the past five years. West Hill and Centennial Scarborough were in second place with a rise of 59.1 per cent each.
The Bottom Line
Affordability means different things to different people. Some folks want that detached, suburban lifestyle, while others are into the high-rise, downtown vibe. Location, proximity to work and family, schools, health, entertainment and other considerations also matter.
The good news is that by making a list of what’s important to you and being honest about the lifestyle you want, you should be able to narrow down your dream neighbourhood that much sooner.