Finding the Right Toronto Neighbourhood For You
January 25, 2017
In a city like Toronto, there are a handful of neighbourhoods that command premium prices for various reasons. The neighbourhood may be in a great school district and easily accessible to transit. Or it could be like Cabbagetown or Riverdale which are close to the core, so that you have access to everything the city has to offer. It could be like the Annex where everything is walkable and the homes offer lots of space.
The challenge is that because so many people want to live in these neighbourhoods, the demand becomes HUGE and the real estate becomes unaffordable for the majority of buyers.
BUT, luckily for Toronto dwellers…one of the greatest things about our city is that it has a multitude of neighbourhoods – in fact, the city lists 140 of them, which means there’s another place in the city that offers the amenities you’re looking for and a home that fits your needs – you just have to keep an open mind.
When you can’t afford your ideal location
If you’ve been priced out of your dream neighbourhood, you’ll have to come to terms with that fact. However, you’ll likely find a similar neighbourhood offering what you want. It may be just outside where you were looking, or it may be on the other side of the city. The key thing to do is a little legwork. Figure out which neighbourhood is likely to be a good fit and spend some time there.
Buying a home a little outside a prime neighbourhood which is already seeing peak pricing allows you to take advantage of some of the future price growth. Hold tight with the understanding that it’s not your ideal ‘hood, but there will be long term benefits.
Check out the shops and restaurants nearby, see what your entertainment options are, what services are in the area – all the things that fuel your life. Get a feel for the vibe and choose the top three or four areas that you want to concentrate on. Figure out the most important thing to you and work around that. Maybe you want to be in a good school district, figure out where they are. Transit is slowly improving in the city. If this is important, neighbourhoods already near a subway station are pricey, but something close to the as yet unfinished Eglinton line may be more affordable.
As an example, prime Riverdale is out of reach for many buyers, so they are turning to Gerrard. A few years ago, the area wasn’t considered “prime” and was undefined – it wasn’t quite Leslieville or Riverdale. But now with families moving in, the areas just north and south of Gerrard are starting to boom. It’s becoming its own little community with shops, bars and restaurants. This second Chinatown is getting a new identity with east side hipsters and you’ll find many other lesser-known neighbourhoods are experiencing the same thing.
In the years that I have been in real estate, I have yet to see a neighbourhood go downhill. Perhaps some neighbourhoods have stayed more or less the same, but I cannot think of a neighbourhood that has deteriorated or seen a price decline.
With the market in Toronto the way it is, having an experienced Realtor on your side will help you navigate the market, figure out your priorities and find the home that’s right for you. If you have any questions about buying or selling real estate in Toronto, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.