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All the places near Toronto you can buy a house on a condo budget

Eric Wainwright Jul 13, 2016 12:29 am

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After weighing all the pros and cons, repeatedly plugging numbers into spreadsheets and meeting with a mortgage professional – you’ve decided that buying a home is the right move.

Yet while the rent versus buy debate may have been put to rest in your head, there’s another question you need to ask yourself: Should you go the condo route or skip straight to a single family house?

It’s a profound point that is either shrugged off by buyers who value location over square footage or broken down to bits by those looking ahead in fear of a looming expiration date for their tight-fitted downtown condo the moment kids enter the picture.

Home buying conventions say start with the more affordable high-rise option and, in time, build equity and move up the property ladder. After a quick look at the numbers, it’s easy to see why.

In the City of Toronto, the average price of a condo apartment hovers around the $430,000 mark (and upwards of $622 per square foot in downtown) – which isn’t cheap by any measure but still sits well in starter-home territory. Especially when compared to detached homes which fetch upwards of a million dollars in the city.

Buying a single-family house within the bounds of the 416 is a tall-order, especially for buyers dipping their toes into the market for the first time.

That being said, if you’re willing to confront the commuter lifestyle and settle in a car-dependent neighbourhood out in the burbs, you can skip straight to a house with enough room for a growing family at a lower price that roughly sits around that of a city condo.

The decision to go straight to a house can have a big impact on your bottom line. For one, houses appreciate at a far faster rate than their high-rise counterparts; meaning they’re a more solid investment. Last year alone, detached property prices across the GTA went up around twenty per cent. Condo apartments on the other hand climbed around seven per cent during the same time.

Plus, by going with the “forever home” first, you’ll avoid the added costs of buying, selling and moving again within a short amount of time. By purchasing outside of Toronto, you’ll also be subject to one less land transfer tax (only provincial and not municipal taxes).

There are caveats of skipping to a house however, not the least of which includes hours of arduous commuting time as well as being disconnected from young professional life in the city. With more space, comes higher energy bills and a greater risk of a stretched budget (along with increased maintenance responsibilities).

Lifestyle preferences have a huge part to play in deciding where and what type of home you wish to buy.

For first-time buyers and millennials looking to jump straight to a house with room for future kids, we listed where freehold houses in and around the GTA can be bought for roughly the same price of a Toronto condo. It’s worth noting, everything listed comes under the $500,000 mark, so you won’t be impacted by new rules that mandate a minimum down payment above five per cent.

Home Type: Detached
Avg. Price: $459,534
Compared to Avg. TO Condo: +$28,262

Home Type: Detached
Avg. Price: $368,878
Compared to Avg. TO Condo: -$62,394

Home Type: Detached
Avg. Price: $454,899
Compared to Avg. TO Condo: +$23,627

Home Type: Detached
Avg. Price: $480,076
Compared to Avg. TO Condo: +$48,804

Home Type: Semi-Detached
Avg. Price: $443,013
Compared to Avg. TO Condo: +$11,741

Home Type: Semi Detached
Avg. Price: $372,081
Compared to Avg. TO Condo: -$59,191

Home Type: Townhouse
Avg. Price: $469,639
Compared to Avg. TO Condo: +$38,367

Halton Hills
Home Type: Townhouse
Avg. Price: $467,276
Compared to Avg. TO Condo: +$36,004

Home Type: Townhouse
Avg. Price: $472,000
Compared to Avg. TO Condo: +$40,733

Housing figures are for Jan-May 2016 from Stratus MLS® System

Eric Wainwright
Eric is the Toronto City Editor for Daily Hive and previously the Editor-in-Chief at He is highly educated. He knows words. He has the best words.

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