It’s no secret that Toronto is an EXPENSIVE city to live in. As the average price of a detached home has creeps towards $1.6 million, a lot of would-be Toronto Buyers are asking themselves: should I move to the ‘burbs? Today, we’ll look at the pros and cons of moving to the ‘burbs in three of favourite categories: Time, Money and Lifestyle…because you’re usually compromising one or two for the other.
Money, Money, Money
The Cost of The House
True, many of Toronto’s suburbs are more affordable than Toronto – but don’t be fooled into thinking that real estate in the ‘burbs is a bargain. In 2016, we saw prices in the suburbs appreciate faster than in Toronto:
- Toronto: 19%
- Halton – 33%
- Peel – 29%
- York – 32%
- Durham – 36%
So let’s have a look at the cost of an average detached home in February 2017:
Not what you expected, is it?
Of course, we aren’t comparing apples to apples – the average house in the ‘burbs is significantly larger and on a bigger lot than in Toronto. But if you’re dreaming of buying a beautiful detached house for $600K, be ready to move a considerable distance from Toronto.
Other Financial Considerations
You’ll need to consider:
Land Transfer Tax – Residents of the City of Toronto have to pay the Toronto Land Transfer Tax on top of the Ontario land transfer tax. On a million dollar home, that’s an extra $16,475, bringing total land transfer taxes payable to $32,950. That’s not an insignificant amount of cash.
Car Costs – Will you need to buy a second car if you move to the ‘burbs? How will that affect your gas, car maintenance, and insurance expenses?
Public Transport Costs – If you keep your Toronto job and aren’t planning on the long car commute daily, you’ll need to consider GoTrain and TTC costs:
- Ajax to Union Station – $4,004/year
- Dixie GO Station in Mississauga to Union: $2,970/year
- Oakville GO Station to Union: $3,806/year
- Richmond Hill GO Station to Union: $3,190/year
- Caledon GO Station to Union: $5,192
- TTC Metropass if you don’t work at Union Station: $1,755/year
Salary – If you ditch your Toronto job and look for work closer to your new home outside of the city, you can expect your salary to be affected. You aren’t likely to make a Toronto salary at your job in Hamilton…your new boss knows it’s cheaper to live there too.
Daycare – Will you incur additional expenses because of the longer days you spend away from home?
Time and Lifestyle
When it comes to evaluating whether you want to live in Toronto or one of its many suburbs, you’ll need to do some soul-searching about the value of your time and how you want to spend it. Where do your family and friends live? Will moving to the ‘burbs mean being able to spend more time with the people you love or will you be sacrificing that time commuting?
I’m a central Toronto girl and always will be, so it’s hard for me to be unbiased when it comes to comparing downtown life vs. suburban life. I love everything Toronto has to offer, from the scores of summer festivals to the art, theatre and live music selections. I love living in a walkable city with trendy restaurants, craft brewpubs, foodie shops and cafes at my doorstep, and being so close to High Park, Trinity Bellwoods, Toronto Island and the Beaches. Most of all, I love the multi-cultural mosaic that Toronto is, that just can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
But enough about me. What’s important to you? If you’re living in the city now, do you take advantage of all it has to offer? Or are you more likely to binge-watch Netflix? Would you rather hit Costco than stroll the streets and visit the local butcher, the bakery, and the cheese shop?
Would you take advantage of a bigger yard or would you curse that lawn and garden and all the work they entail? Are you longing to fill a 3,500 sqft house or would you rather minimize your material belongings and spend that money traveling the world?
What kind of an environment do you want your kids growing up in? How do you feel about the school options and safety of the city vs. the ‘burbs?
So What Are You Going to Do?
We’ve met with a lot of people lately who are making the choice to move to the ‘burbs. They’ve cashed out on the equity in their Toronto home (with some help from the BREL team of course) and are packing up and deciding to move. Making the choice to uproot from city living to ‘the burbs is a BIG decision. If it’s something you’re considering, we’d be happy to put you in touch with one of our many partners outside of the city!