Canada's Condominium Magazine

Current Buying (and Renting) Power in the Greater Toronto Area

As properties become scarce and prices soar out of control, many are left wondering how they will ever find a home in the Greater Toronto Area. Whether they are looking to purchase a property or to rent a condo unit, they find themselves running into obstacles at every turn. These days, it seems like no matter how much money you have, it will never be quite enough.

 

Buying Power in the Greater Toronto Area

Half a million dollars may seem like a huge chunk of change. However, for Toronto homebuyers, that is mere pennies compared to rising property costs. A 2017 sales data study conducted by the Altus Group discovered that half a million dollars would afford a potential homebuyer only 430 square feet of space, a far cry from the two-bedroom, 850 to 1,000 square feet unit that Calgary and Edmonton’s residents could afford with a similar budget.

The Vancouver market saw figures similar to Toronto’s. This has led to a growing number of people flocking to other regions to obtain more affordable housing with more space. “Consumers have considerably more buying power in smaller markets such as Calgary, Edmonton, and Kitchener versus the two largest markets, Vancouver and Toronto,” read the report.

“The sales activity across the country indicates that demand for new condominium apartment product was very strong in 2017, but particularly in the GTA,” said Altus Group Senior Director Matthew Boukall in a statement.

Attempting to Rent Property Rather Than Owning It

Rental properties are not completely immune to soaring rates. The lack of affordable options has left many residents scrambling to come up with some creative solutions. While most opt for co-habitation agreements, others have set out to find new, unique ways to afford properties that do not require them to share with random strangers.

Edrick Thay is among those residents. In 2016, he landed a 2,000-square-foot, three-bedroom semi near Dufferin and St. Clair after only four months of searching, unlike friends of his who spent years looking to no avail. “Every time I talked to them, they were just more and more defeated.” Thay saw his friends compromising on their preferences, such as updated appliances, parking, and a preferred neighbourhood. “They either start doing that, or they just start putting in crazy bids, too.”

While he tried to avoid compromising as much as possible, he learned that it was inevitable. “Every time I was looking, the houses got more and more expensive, especially as we got toward the warmer months,” said Thay. “I saw more people at the showings. That fear that if I don’t buy now, I’m going to have to pay more later, started creeping in for me. I had to come to the realization that I’m not willing to spend what it’s going to take for me to get everything I want.”

He eventually found a nice home within his price range, even if he did need to relent a little. It also helped that he found a little-known pocket of affordable real estate that remained in Toronto. He landed the home with a bid of $700,000.

Another man, Huy Do, decided to get even more creative by putting a Hollywood spin on his home search. Earlier this month, he created a movie poster using his photo, a title, and some details about himself and his ideal home. “The poster idea came from me watching a lot of movies,” said Do. “Looking for an apartment can be full of drama and suspense. When someone looks at a movie poster, they might be able to empathize and feel those emotions.” Within hours of posting messages and the photo across social media sites, he had prospective landlords lining up to offer him properties in his desired area.

 

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