HiResToronto home buyers spend a lot of time thinking about how much their mortgage payment will be: what price they should offer for the house and the terms of the mortgage.  And yes, those are critical decisions – but how much does it really cost to OWN a typical two storey, three bedroom house in Toronto?

  1. Property taxes – How much you pay in property taxes depends on the city-assessed value of your house (which is usually considerably lower than the market value). For a house assessed at $600,000, the tax bill for 2016 is $4,233 annually. You can access the city of Toronto’s tax calculator here.
  2. Home insurance – This number will vary greatly, depending on how much “stuff” you have and your insurance claims history. Our clients usually pay around $100-$150 a month for home insurance.
  3. Water, sewage and garbage/recycling The city charges for water depending on how much you consume while garbage costs are based on how big your bins are. While the annual amount will vary with usage, expect to pay $600-$750 total per year for all 3 bills combined (billed three times per year or monthly). Click here to find out more about water rates in Toronto.
  4. Hydro In our experience, the average hydro bill for a typical three bedroom Toronto home is $125-200 a month. There are tons of ways you can bring your hydro rates down – click here for more information about conserving energy and time-of-use hydro rates.
  5. Gas – Average monthly gas bills are around $125-150. Click here to read about incentives to reduce your heating and cooling bills in Toronto.
  6. Repairs and maintenance  This involves eEverything from having your ducts cleaned to the furnace serviced to cleaning the gutters and downspouts. And let’s not forget that you’ll probably need to replace the roof at some point ($8,000-10,000) along with upgrading your appliances. Experts suggest you budget 1-3% of the value of your home every year to deal with repairs and maintenance. Click here for our handy home maintenance schedule.
  7. Gardening/snow removal  While the fantasy of owning a home usually involves lovingly tending to your garden, the reality is that many of us outsource it – or at the very least, we have to buy plants, gardening implements and a shovel. Budget for $500+ a year.

If you’re thinking of buying a house in Toronto, make sure to take the time to work out the closing costs AND the monthly costs to maintain it. If you’re looking for someone to help demystify home ownership, we’d be happy to help!

Comments

  1. Results for property with an assessment value of $447,090

    Total Taxes: $3,447.95* Of which:

    $988.07 goes to Education

    $2,459.88 goes to the City

    * Please note that this amount is the total tax amount on your home. A portion of this goes to fund the Province’s Education system. This is why your total taxes are made up of a City rate and an Education rate.

    http://wx.toronto.ca/inter/fin/tax.nsf/tax?OpenForm&Seq=1

    NOTE : Posting this because MOST people think ALL Property Tax goes to the City, but the Province gets 30% for Schools.

  2. $500 for water and garbage? How can you get that low? We’re a family of 3 and our water bill is around $300 every 4 months so $1200 / year. Nobody is at home during day and we use dishwasher, take showers not baths, we don’t water our garden. Also when nobody uses water the meter does not move (ie no leaks / leaky toilets / appliances).

    Maybe you meant $500 every bill? Water rates are around $2.8 / m3 now on Mar 2013

    • Brendan Powell says:

      Wow you guys must use a lot of water!

      I dug up our bills and the last 4 were:
      $112
      $229
      $200
      $167
      Which works out to an average of $177 per bill. At 3 times a year that works out to $531. This includes a large garbage receptacle (i.e. the 2nd largest).
      Granted, there are only two of us and we only take showers and have low-flush toilets… water rates have gone up by 9% each of the last two Januaries though, so I suspect we will have to keep rounding this upwards. Certainly $600 seems a reasonable estimate, but $1200 seems extreme to me.

      I’d love to hear what other people’s average bills are–are we low, or is Cristi’s high? Anyone?

      • We are a family of four. We too do not take baths, only showers and do not water the garden etc. our bill is usually around 323.00 every 4 months.

        • Showers only take less water than baths if they are very short. On the other hand, silent leaks in your toilets use a lot of water. You will not see or hear this type of leak. Check your low-flow indicator, or put some food colouring in the toilet tank and DO NOT FLUSH. Check after 20 minutes. If you start to see colour in the bowl, it means water is slowly leaking from the tank to the bowl, and from there it goes straight down the drain. Replacing the seal is easy and you can buy what you need at any home supply place for around $20. One toilet with a slow leak can up your bill by $50 a month or more.

      • We used to clock in at around $350 every billing (3x a year), then we put in low flow toilets and ‘eco lawn’, and now it’s $280. Astonishing. So worth doing. We do a ton of laundry and take two to three large soaker tub baths a day between us – but no dishwasher – family of four.

      • My mother just showed me our bill. Six adults and 4 kids lives in this house. The bill says $750.69. It’s my first time seeing a Utility bill. But I think it’s a bit much. What do you think?

    • Brendan Powell says:

      Oh and looking again at your math, Cristi: if your bills are $300 every 4 months then you are actually paying $900/year–3x$300.

  3. Thank you for the information. I wish I had found this before we bought our house to get a better idea. Our bills are pretty low however there was not enough maintenance done on a regular basis to our house. We need to keep up with the maintenance and surprises!

  4. I lived in a lovely house on Maui for 11 years, but now that I’m back in Canada, and back on disability, I guess I shall live in an apartment the rest of my life. It’s hard to call an apartment after you’ve tasted home-ownership.

  5. I did a bit of math based on this to see how it compares to what my husband and I pay in rent in the city. We thankfully have a very affordable apartment in the downtown within walking distance of work. It costs $800 per month inclusive of utilities (and ensuite laundry, not coin-operated.) A lot of people say you’re just throwing your money away when you rent, and that’s true, but when weighing whether to purchase a home instead, I figure there are sunk costs in homeownership that need to be weighed against the 100% sunk costs of renting. The biggest advantage in homeownership is that it’s a sort of forced savings/investment and when renting it’s easy to spend your excess cash rather than save/invest it.

    So: here is my math based on a $450,000 home in Toronto, which is about what my husband and I could reasonably afford on our salaries.
    First: total annual costs of rent = $9,600

    On a $450,000 home assuming a 5% down payment, that’s a $427,500.

    Adding up the monthly “sunk” costs above (taxes, insurance, the lowest estimates for utilities, but not repairs and gardening since they’re sort of discretionary) I get to $8,198 or $683 per month.

    Add in the cost of mortgage interest. Assuming the current lowest posted rate on Ratehub of 2.49% (which is really low!) that still works out to $147,205 in interest payments over the 25-year life of the mortgage. Average that out annually and it’s $5,888 per year or about $490/month (with more of it coming at the start of the mortgage, obviously.) So now we’re up to $1,173 in sunk costs per month.

    Also add in the cost of mortgage insurance, which, to be frank, I don’t fully understand. I would assume you pay the entire amount over the full 25-year amortization period? On a $427,500 mortgage with 5% down and 25-year amortization, that works out to $13,466 or $538 a year for 25 years. So $45 a month. Now up to $1,218.

    Add in annual repairs at 1% of home value, which would be an $4,500/year ($375/month) and you’re at $1,593. ($4,500 a year, every year, for repairs, seems really high. But then again, I’m a renter.)

    So. I throw away $800 every month on rent, but a homeowner throws away $1,593 on payments that are not actually going toward the principal portion of the mortgage. One caveat is that I don’t rent the equivalent of a $450,000 home in Toronto (which is still mainly a condo) so it’s not a one to one comparison. But it’s easy to see how you can actually throw away less money by renting rather than buying.

    The key is to calculate the amount that you’d otherwise be paying each month toward the principal portion of the mortgage and invest that at (hopefully!) an equivalent rate of return to what you could get in the housing market. It’s dicey, which is why so many people believe in the safety of real estate. But I still believe we need to rethink the idea that renting is just throwing away your money while buying a home is not. You throw away some of your money when you buy too.

    • Melanie Piche says:

      Thanks for sharing your detailed analysis! You’re definitely one of the lucky ones if you’re paying $800 a month in rent…the average one-bedroom rented for $1867 last year…and the average rent on a $450,000 Toronto home is around $2,000-$2,200. Sounds like you’ve made the right decision for yourself. We’re realtors and even we don’t think everyone should buy!

      • We rent a 1-BD apartment and it’s about $950/month. That includes everything but hydro (we pay about $33/month for hydro and $30/month for cable internet which are only extras) such as parking, snow clearing, grounds-keep (trees, leaves, lawns..), repairs, appliances (and repairs thereof), locker, property tax (Toronto), water, hot-water, sewage, heating (n. gas) and so forth. I walk to the local park (Edwards Gardens) which is has nice gardens and it’s a nice area with good transit. Not a bad deal for us. We know others paying 800-ish for rent also but not as close to Edwards Gardens.

    • i know you mentioned this in your post but what you posted is not accurate at all because of the discrepancy between your current rent and home price. It is ALWAYS better to buy than to rent.

      I don’t know where you live in the city but $800 a month for rent gets you next to nothing. The equivalent rent to a $450,00 home is probably close to $2000 per month rent. If you want to compare your rent to a home you would need to use a mortgage of about 200k. If you did the math on a 200k home you will find that you will be farther a head on owning the home rather than renting. If you calculate $1600 on throw away money on a 450k home you would probably be throwing away about 2k per month on rent.

      • I am paying $1500 for Decent Condo (with all amenities and 5 min from my work, near Ajax/Pickering) i.e all inclusive . plz someone do the math for me is it reasonable to go for owning house or not (in nearby area)

        • That would depend on your downpayment and the terms you can get for financing. I would suggest you talk to a bank to see how much they would pre-approve you for and at what interest rate and go from there…or you can play with our mortgage calculator and see what comes up! Here’s a link to the mortgage calculator.

  6. Family of 5 (3 kids, including a teenager) water bills of $140 every FOUR months, thus $420 per annum. Dishwasher, yes, but that uses WAY less water than using the sink anyway,.
    Showers not baths, and no watering the garden.
    Also includes seemingly ENDLESS loads of laundry…

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