The $1-million Dream

The average cost of a detached home in Toronto is now $1,040,018, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board. For the first time ever, we've cleared the $1-million mark.

I recently bought a detached home in Toronto, but I could never afford a price tag even close to $1-million. The once modest dream of owning a detached home in a nice Toronto neighbourhood is now out of reach for so many.

Digging a little deeper, it's not all doom and gloom. The average price of a home in Toronto is $596,193, if you include semi-detached, townhouses and condos. That's still an awfully high price for your average hard working Toronto family.

I have two simple questions for the hivemind.

  1. Do you own a home in Toronto?
  2. Could you afford to buy your own home if you wanted to do so today?

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Comments (31 - click here to join in!)

Sam in Pickering

Yes and no. I worry about my kids. They'll either have to leave the city or go condo.

And the suburbs aren't much cheaper.

March 4, 2015 @ 9:34 AM

Al The Royal Pain

I couldn't afford a home in Toronto in a million years. Heck i can't afford to buy in my own neighbourhood anymore. We bought at exactly the right time 12 years ago. One year later and we wouldn't be able to afford it. I just wonder what all these people who can afford a $1million mortgage do for a living. I know there are a lot of lawyers and Bay St. Bigshots in this city...but enough to drive the average home price that high? It's even worse in Vancouver.

March 4, 2015 @ 9:48 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Al The Royal Pain

I wonder how much of the down payment comes from inheritance or parental assistance.

Let's say a Toronto family pulls down a decent combined salary of $100,000. How could they ever save enough for the down payment on a million dollar home, let alone qualify for the monster mortgage.

March 4, 2015 @ 9:56 AM

Cheryl

I have a condo apartment which my parents helped me buy back in 1985. I sure couldn't afford a house. This is why my trainer moved to Hamilton and is commuting because he couldn't afford to buy here and also his wife's family is in Hamilton.

March 4, 2015 @ 10:01 AM

Al The Royal Pain

I'm sure that's some of it. I also know a few people who rent houses (or parts of houses) in neighbourhoods where they wouldn't be able to afford to own. So I'm guessing some of it is also people buying and renting. They make enough to just pay the mortgage and property tax, all-the-while their equity goes up as the value goes up. I suppose it's as good a way of investing as any...as long as there isn't another housing bubble.

March 4, 2015 @ 10:03 AM

Gump

I own a detached house at Yonge & Lawrence but would like to move as our house has... issues. Unfortunately the houses I'd be looking at (in the area) are $1.9M to $2.4M -- we love being close to TTC/401, great schools, shops, safety, etc. and want to stay here. That would mean getting a new mortgage for $500K+ which we don't want to take on in our 40s. Subsequently if we moved it would mean far too much of our equity is in our house which isn't liquid and couldn't be realized unless we move to Elliott Lake or equivalent. Even comparable condos are going to cost upwards of $1M, if that is what we choose to move to when (if?) we retire.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, I'm just pointing out that there is 'stress' and anxiety at every level of housing in Toronto.

However, this story seems even more stressful. If interest rates increase, the spending spree would end immediately :
Household saving rate low

March 4, 2015 @ 10:10 AM

James Edgar

I'm officially out of the House market. We hoped that when we sold our condo that we could recover from the mistakes we made and get a house at some point . A small one but a house. But even 2 bedroom bungalows in north etobicoke are going for $600000 now. There's now way we would be able to save that kind of cash and having a $450000+ mortgage is not an option as far as we are concerned. so we are going to continue to rent as long as we are tied here and use our savings to travel instead of buying property.

March 4, 2015 @ 10:58 AM

mrmojorisinca

I live in Maple, ON so not Toronto..and own..but it a very small detached home..
In Toronto..I could probably do a semi detached..but the 1million is also way out side my budget..

March 4, 2015 @ 11:01 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

There is a compelling argument to be made in support of renting vs. buying. Especially if you believe the many who swear this housing bubble will burst at some point.

March 4, 2015 @ 11:04 AM

mrmojorisinca

If you can pay rent and still put away the same amount into saving I think renting isn't a bad way to go..

March 4, 2015 @ 11:05 AM

Brian

I own a semi in west Toronto that I was able to get into at $400,000 before the prices really started going up.
Similar to Al, I often wonder what all of these people do for a leaving to be able to afford these homes. In addition to the homes, the majority of my kids friends at school all seem to have cottages and are off on extravagant vacations multi times a year.

March 4, 2015 @ 12:15 PM

Argie

The two main sources of this wealth people are asking about are (1) Over-seas money (some legal, some not so much) and (2) retires with loads of cash and property.

March 4, 2015 @ 12:36 PM

GUNTer

we own a small two bedroom bungalow in etobicoke. we got into the market just in time - around 2002 - i think we paid around 210 for is - it is now 'valued' at 500+ - ridiculous. i dont even have a finished basement.
my neice just bought a beautiful (big/brick) house near havelock. she paid around 135.
when i first started working f/time (around 1986) i worked for a high earning doctor downtown. he rented an apartment. he said if you are fiscally responsible and put away what you would spend on a house - you will come out ahead in the end. it used to boggle my mind. but having been a home owner for a while now - i can see it would be nice not to worry about furnace/roof/big expenses. however, i am not fiscally responsible enough to put the equivalent away in a nest egg. i like expensive shoes.
good luck to young peeps trying to get in the market. someone above said it - you need a parental hand.

March 4, 2015 @ 1:03 PM

Argie

Sorry, that was meant to read "retirees." I'm sure you all got my drift though.

March 4, 2015 @ 1:12 PM

Al The Royal Pain

I think the bubble will first burst with the condos in this city. A casualty of that will then be the housing market.

March 4, 2015 @ 1:24 PM

Ben Vidal

@ Al & Toronto Mike: The housing bubble was supposed to burst 3.5 years ago. Every year the newspapers sensationalize a bust that is apparently imminent. It has yet to happen. I'm concerned about it, but people also predicted we'd be paying $2.00-$3.00 a litre for gas by now. I guess we'll know when know it's going to happen when it's already happening.

This supposed bust will correct the housing market by 20%. If that happens the house I bought in Oakville 3 years ago will still be valued higher than my original purchasing price. Understanding that this has the biggest impact on those buying houses today, but unless you plan on living in a house for a year or two the general rule of thumb and what history has shown is that housing prices will bounce back.

The current affordability for new homes is perpetuated by near rock bottom interest rates. At 2.99% you might be able to afford to own a million dollar home. I'm really surprised what people are willing to pay for houses in Toronto that are essentially run down. My friend has a house in etobicoke near Kipling and lakeshore. Many houses on his street are not in what I would call stellar condition. Yet they all continue to sell for amounts well past the $600K mark.

I completely agree with you Al. When a bust occurs it will hit the condo market first and hardest. I don't actually understand the condo market in Toronto. People paying extreme amounts for shoe boxes. Then from experience of having spent time in a number of condo buildings down town visiting friends you get to see how shoddy the workmanship is. It's the wild west of doing it cheap and cutting corners. When I say poor quality I mean it. From shower heads to faucets to electrical to door handles to uneven tiles. Couple the potential repairs in 5 to 10 years along with rising condo fees I don't see it being sustainable.

Then again I'm a suburbs guy what do I know.

March 4, 2015 @ 3:14 PM

twins from bolton

Sold our house in Toronto in 1999 - 4 bedroom detached - 1800 sq. ft. for 169K. The house was sold a year ago for $ 725K. Needed a lot of work when we moved.

Moved to Bolton & bought a 7 yr. old house in 1999 - 4 bedrooms & 2700 sq. ft. for 250K. Now assessed 650K.
Still have a small mtg. & will be paid off in 2-3 years.

Just wish I still had our house in Toronto as I may have won the lottery if being sold today.
Too bad for young people trying to afford a house at all anywhere unless financially aided by family or "HIGH CLASS INCOME".

March 4, 2015 @ 6:55 PM

Rob

When it comes to condos research the builder before buying. There are a lot people with money trying to build condos these days that have no experience, they hire a general contractor and the goal is building for as cheap as possible. Which leads to the horrible workmanship.

Make sure you buy from builder that his been around and built condos before and not some overnight owner/general contractor.

March 4, 2015 @ 8:49 PM


Blind Dave

My wife bought her house with some inheritance money shortly before we met. This house is now worth four times the original amount and there is no way we could afford to buy it today on our salaries. And I live in a small prairie city, not Toronto or Edmonton.

March 5, 2015 @ 8:15 AM

Location is Key

I believe location is the key. There are still detach houses in the west end selling for under a mil. 800k max. where a similar sized one in midtown toronto are are selling way over a mil. We recently bought around mid town toronto back in the summer. Believe now the price have went up to at least 100k for our property.

With the interest rate being so low. I doubt the "bubble" will burst anytime soon. Those who wait will always be waiting.

March 5, 2015 @ 9:46 AM

Argie

Here's some advice: When your banker or mortgage broker tells you "oh, I think interest rates will rise by next year" IGNORE THEM. Trust me, stick with a short term or variable mortgage.

March 5, 2015 @ 10:01 AM

elvis

I'm 60% sure my next home will be a rental.

March 5, 2015 @ 11:13 AM

Lucyfan

@Argie - thanks for the advice. I'll be renewing my mortgage in May. I bought my house in west Scarborough (St.Clair/Kennedy) 13 years ago at $259K. It was assessed at $550K last year. Nice little investment.

March 5, 2015 @ 1:15 PM

Mary

One thing missed in these discussions is the fact that in many cases this is a second or third home for the buyers spending over a million. Equity increased in the home they are selling and they are using that to help compensate for extreme prices seen in good neighbourhoods at moment. A first time buyer cannot afford a Bloor West home without assistance.

March 5, 2015 @ 1:17 PM

Argie

@Lucyfan
I must state that its only my opinion that rates will stay as is. I would suggest you speak with other people about this before pulling the trigger on your mortgage.

@Mary
Good point about buyers having built up equity. So true.

March 5, 2015 @ 2:15 PM

andrew

Can I put in an offer for the tunnel built by York Univ.
1st offer will be $ 250K.

March 5, 2015 @ 5:53 PM

Mike from Lowville

@ Sam in Pickering, I too am worried about the youth. (my kids included) The wages today will not afford them a hope in hell of buying a detached home in the GTA unless like some, the parents lend them a BIG chunk of change for a down payment large enough to clear of high ratio morgage. Even so, IF interests rate go up there will be bigger problems for many new home owners.

March 5, 2015 @ 6:06 PM

CQ

IMHO, Townhouses are just cramped horizontal apartment buildings. I wouldn't want to BUY neither a condo nor a townhome. (I grew up living in a 1950s built Mississauga bungalow - with a rotating outdoor antenna, lol.)
I wish Toronto had some of the tiny detached housing that can be easier found in Hamilton, for example.

March 8, 2015 @ 3:32 PM

Mark

I live downtown. I also have 2 rental properties downtown. I was able to achieve this by buying my first small place in Scarborough and every few years selling and moving up in the market. Time passed, earned more at work and bought 2 additional income properties. 3 properties, 2 positive revenue generating, over $450k in equity and a very managible mortgage. No magic, inheritance or family help. Just hard work, research and good timing. Quit expecting someone to step in and hand it to you just because you can't afford it.

August 12, 2015 @ 12:31 AM

markosaar

@Mark,

How old are you?

No one is expecting a fucking hand-out, but a lot of us seem to have missed the boat and will seemingly never have the opportunity no matter how hard we work.

August 12, 2015 @ 9:59 AM

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