Making the leap from renting to buying is an immensely tough, personal and nerve-wracking decision. Is now a good time to become a homeowner? Can I afford to buy a home? What about in the future?
Ultimately, this decision is dictated by your own personal budget and needs. But making a smart property decision requires more than a solid budget and a good gut feeling. When you’re about to purchase the single largest asset you’ll probably ever own (and take on very large long-term debt) you want more than a hunch. That’s where we can help.
We realize that the affordability of single-family homes in Canada’s two largest cities is far beyond the reach of many first-time homebuyers. To become a homeowner these days, it often means revising the dream. While a single-family detached may be out of the question, there are plenty of townhomes and condos for sale that will suit first-time buyers, urban professionals, downsizers and growing families. While it may be easy to determine what property type and size is right for you and your family, it’s not as easy to narrow down the best neighbourhoods to look and buy. Is it better stay in the downtown core or move out to a community that offers all the amenities and an easy commute?
To help you make this decision, we examined more than 800 neighbourhoods in the Greater Toronto and the Greater Vancouver Areas.
Greater Toronto Districts
City of Toronto – Best and Worst Neighbourhoods to Buy a Condo or Townhouse in 2018
Durham – Best and Worst Neighbourhoods to Buy a Condo or Townhouse in 2018
Halton – Best and Worst Neighbourhoods to Buy a Condo or Townhouse in 2018
Peel – Best and Worst Neighbourhoods to Buy a Condo or Townhouse in 2018
York & Simcoe – Best and Worst Neighbourhoods to Buy a Condo or Townhouse in 2018
Greater Vancouver Districts
City of Vancouver – Best and Worst Neighbourhoods to Buy a Condo or Townhouse in 2018
West and North Vancouver – Best and Worst Neighbourhoods to Buy a Condo or Townhouse in 2018
Richmond – Best and Worst Neighbourhoods to Buy a Condo or Townhouse in 2018
Delta, Surrey and Tsawwassen – Best and Worst Neighbourhoods to Buy a Condo or Townhouse in 2018
Burnaby and New Westminster – Best and Worst Neighbourhoods to Buy a Condo or Townhouse in 2018
Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam & Port Moody – Best and Worst Neighbourhoods to Buy a Condo or Townhouse in 2018
Langley, Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge – Best and Worst Neighbourhoods to Buy a Condo or Townhouse in 2018
Abbotsford and Mission – Best and Worst Neighbourhoods to Buy a Condo or Townhouse in 2018
Whistler and Squamish – Best and Worst Neighbourhoods to Buy a Condo or Townhouse in 2018
We examined the relative value of a property, the overall pricing trend of each community and the current and future desirability of each area. This doesn’t mean we simply sought out the cheapest properties — because sometimes neighbourhoods are consistently cheap for a reason. Instead, we focused on neighbourhoods that offered good value when compared to surrounding neighbourhoods, the city district and the overall census area. After that, we examined how each neighbourhood has appreciated in the last five years.
At this point, some may argue that the last decade for real estate markets has been an anomaly. There’s been astronomical price growth that’s never been seen before. This is true. However, if all neighbourhoods are impacted in the same way, then we can still compare neighbourhood to neighbourhood and obtain a good read on which communities are hot and which are not.
Finally, to mitigate the possibility of overpaying for a less-than-desirable neighbourhood, we examined each neighbourhood based on our economic ranking. This ranking included a score that was provided by our real estate agents as well as the inclusion of the Walk Score and Transit Score for each neighbourhood. In this way, we were able to assess the current economic health of a neighbourhood, which goes a long in helping a community hold its value and steadily appreciate over time.
In this report, the Canada (GTA & GVA) Condo & Townhouse Market Report, we give you the hard numbers to help guide your buying decision.
Whether you’re looking for your first home, a place to raise your young family, a spot to downsize or an investment property to grow your rental portfolio, we’ll help you get the best bang for your buck when buying a condo or townhouse in the Greater Toronto or Greater Vancouver areas.
How we did it
How did we do it? How did we identify the top neighbourhoods in Toronto and Vancouver to buy a condo or townhouse? In analytical speak, this is known as a methodology — a systematic, theoretical way that data or information is analyzed.
For the Canada (GTA & GVA) Condo & Townhouse Market Report, we first we created a value score. This score examined the average condo and average townhome price in each neighbourhood and then compared it to surrounding neighbourhoods, the overall municipality average home price and to the average price of a condo or townhome in the greater municipality. In other words, we weren’t just looking for cheap neighbourhoods. Value isn’t synonymous with cheap, especially in real estate. Cheaper housing prices can occur for a variety of reasons — not all of them good. Instead, we wanted to find neighbourhoods that haven’t appreciated as much as surrounding communities but have access to the same amenities and social values as these higher-priced neighbouring ‘hoods. In essence, we are looking for affordable, good neighbourhoods that are poised to increase in value.
Next, we examined how fast condos and townhomes were appreciating in more than 800 neighbourhoods across the two greater municipalities. As any current homeowner or real estate investor will tell you, there’s no point in buying a property if it doesn’t appreciate in value over time. The aim with this metric is to find areas with consistent growth as well as uncover communities that have high demand (a fast appreciating neighbourhood is usually an indicator of increased demand, and that’s great for buyers ready to take the leap into homeownership).
Then we examined each neighbourhood’s economic strength. This was hard. Most real estate rankings compare cities because the analysts can compare GDP growth, unemployment statistics as well as other economic factors. These measurements aren’t available at the neighbourhood level. So, we turned to local experts. We consulted a national panel of Zolo real estate agent experts. We asked these local neighbourhood experts to rank each neighbourhood based on current value and possible future appreciation. Believe it or not, this local insight is key. Realtors know what developments and what changes will impact each community and, as a result, can often see trends long before data can report on it. To help keep the economic score robust, we combined Walk and Transit Scores with the Realtor score. As a result, we were able to create a strong economic score for each neighbourhood — no small feat considering the size and complexity of the greater Toronto and Vancouver strata markets.
Keep in mind that not all neighbourhoods with the Greater Toronto or Greater Vancouver Areas offer condos or townhomes for sale. For that reason, you will see neighbourhoods included in our ranking with either a value score of zero (0) or a momentum score of zero (0). These results are due to a lack of sales in the specific property over the last five years. In most circumstances, this is because this particular property type is not currently available in that neighbourhood.