With interest rates at all-time lows, a lot of first-time buyers are making the leap to buying a house in Toronto. But what neighbourhoods provide good value? What are the best neighbourhoods in Toronto for first time buyers?
Well let’s start by pointing out that if you want to be anywhere near downtown AND you want a house (as opposed to a condo), AND you don’t want to do a lot of renovations, you’ll need at least $500,000 – and ideally $600,000. Yes, I did just say you need $600,000 to get a nice STARTER home in Toronto.
Here are our top neighbourhoods in Toronto for first time buyers:
Brockton Village (a.k.a. Little Portugal a.k.a. the triangle in between Parkdale, Beaconsfield and Roncesvalles) In the first quarter of 2012, the average home in Brockton Village sold for $477,511, a number that included a lot of “fixer-upper” houses. In the last few years, we’ve seen the exodus of families who’ve been in the ‘hood for 30+ years and with it, a lot of houses sold that haven’t been renovated since the 1970’s. Brockton Village continues to be a HOT neighbourhood, with tons of restaurants and shops popping up along West Queen West and Dundas West. If you’re looking for a home that doesn’t need a lot of work (one that has new electrical, plumbing and renovated bathrooms and a modern kitchen), you can expect to pay $550,000 or more. Click here for our Brockton Village Neighbourhood Guide.
The neighbourhood formally known as Wallace Emmerson (more commonly known as Bloordale) is one of our favourite neighbourhoods for first-time buyers. With an average sold price of $484,086 in the first quarter of 2012 it’s still affordable. Hipsters and families are moving in and houses are being renovated – heck even the Galleria Mall is getting a makeover. Click here for our Bloordale Neighbourhood Guide.
The Junction continues to gentrify with an average price of $528,195. We love the Junction’s strong sense of community and energy and there are some great old Victorian houses. Click here for our Junction Neighbourhood Guide.
Leslieville continues to be (barely) within reach of first-time buyers with average price of $558,797. That number is artificially low, given a lot of new (tasteful) lofts have recently popped up, bringing down the average. You’ll need at least $650,000 to buy a nice renovated Victorian. Leslieville is home to some of the city’s top restaurants and shops and there is a real community feel to the neighbourhood. Click here for our Leslieville Neighbourhood Guide.
East York provides great options for first-time Toronto buyers and while it sounds like a suburb, it’s actually really central. Two of our favourite East York neighbourhoods are Blake Jones (the area north of the tracks up to the Danforth, from Pape to Greenwood) and the area north and south of the Danforth from Donlands to Coxwell. Blake Jones had an average price of $592,611 while the the Danforth Mosaic came in at $534,922. Both areas provide good family environments, with parks, good schools and lots to do in nearby Riverdale, Leslieville and Greektown.
Yes, real estate is getting more expensive, but there are still great neighbourhoods in downtown Toronto that allow for short commutes and the best of urban Toronto living.