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Thursday, 19 September 2019
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Three Downtown Toronto Neighbourhoods for Condo Buyers on a Budget

Written by Posted On Friday, 13 September 2019 08:25

Affordable condos in downtown Toronto have gone the way of the Dodo—in the most desirable neighbourhoods, 7 figure price tags are the norm for any condo with more than 2 bedrooms. For families who want to live in an urban environment, this makes buying an all but impossible task; many buyers have given up on competing for units inside of the downtown core altogether, moving to areas like North York, Scarborough, and Etobicoke instead.

It’s true that the downtown Toronto condo market is suffering from a lack of affordable options; however, there are still some safe havens where buyers can secure a unit without emptying their bank account or winding up in a run down building. To be fair, there are no deals or steals in the downtown core anymore, but the following neighbourhoods present the best opportunity for those who work downtown and wish to live there as well.

Grange Park

Grange Park is a downtown Toronto neighbourhood that dates back to the early 1800s: for most of the early 1900s, the neighbourhood was home to working class immigrants who built row houses “cottages” in the neighbourhood.

In modern day, Grange Park is centrally located in downtown Toronto and the idea that there were at one time “cottages” in the area seems absurd. For condo buyers who work in downtown Toronto, this neighbourhood is one of the best options, especially for anyone who relies on public transit; multiple streetcar lines cross the neighbourhood and 3 subway stations are located on the eastern boundary.

The neighbourhood also offers some selection for condo buyers, as it has both new and older condos. Newer condos such as 9t6 offer a great balance of modern amenities and desirable features without inflating prices; 1300 square foot 2 bedroom + den condos can be found for the mid 800s, a high price, but affordable by comparison to other downtown neighbourhoods.

For those who really want to maximize square footage and bedrooms, older properties like Village by the Grange & Grangetown Lofts have expansive suite sizes and 3 bedroom condos for roughly $700k, well below the GTA average of $800k.

Alexandra Park

For decades Alexandra Park was caught in the midst of transition; dated social housing in the neighbourhood was falling into disrepair, while buyers were scooping up semi-detached homes in the area and flipping them. Condo developers have been hesitant to dip their foot in the water and only recently have developments began to crop up with any sort of regularity.

Townhouse complexes such as The Gardens at Queen Townhouses are a great opportunity for young families or buyers who feel cramped in a condo. What makes this development even more appealing is that prices are still quite reasonable; at $694 per square foot, these units are well below the downtown Toronto average. It’s entirely possible to find spacious 2 bedroom townhouses here for the mid 600s.

Considering the that the location is next to Chinatown and lively Kensington Market, there’s no shortage of nearby amenities and public transit options are plentiful as well.

Regent Park

It’s hard to say whether neighbourhoods ending in “Park” are inherently cheaper, but this list suggests they could be. Regent Park is another formerly undesirable neighbourhood that has recently turned around. Its location on the eastern edge of downtown Toronto near the Don Valley Parkway makes it an ideal location for public transit users or car owners. There are also a number of walking in trails in the neighbourhood and parklands along the Don River.

Regent Park now contains a number of modern condos — some buildings in the area have 1 bedrooms for below $500,000 which is almost unheard of in the downtown core. One Park North Tower is a prime example of what this neighbourhood can offer; the building has ample amenities and suites have luxurious finishes like quartz countertops and stainless steel appliances. In the past year, 3 bedrooms have sold in this building for roughly $700,000, a price that’s also unheard of downtown.

Granted, Regent Park is likely a neighbourhood that’s will attract more buyers in the future given its proximity to the Distillery District and St. Lawrence, but there’s still time to settle down here before prices are out of reach.

Final Thoughts

Buying in Toronto certainly requires one take a healthy look around and many buyers will continue to leave downtown for larger floor plans and lower prices. For those set on staying, there are still some affordable options, just not in the neighbourhoods that are typically in demand.

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Robert Van Rhijn

Robert Van Rhijn is a Toronto based Realtor and Broker-of-Record at Slate Realty Inc. He founded Strata.ca in 2018 — a Toronto condo website featuring data and analytics you don’t need to be a statistician to understand. You can connect with Robert at robert@strata.ca.

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