It doesn't take you long to realize that everything in Toronto is for sale. When it comes to the real estate market, Toronto is consistently one of the hotter spots in Canada. Whether you are looking to rent or to buy, the city has potential options that cover the entire spectrum.
For the investor, there are a multitude of opportunities to buy condominiums
, detached homes
, apartment buildings
and commercial buildings
across all neighbourhoods
of the city.
For the potential entrepreneur, there are so many great locations for a store, restaurant or other business. For the residential renter, Toronto's offerings run the gamut from musty basement apartment to gleaming new two-bedroom lofts overlooking Lake Ontario.
However, lesson one of Toronto real estate
is this: everything in the city is more expensive. No need to dance around the subject -- for better or for worse, Toronto is the bustling economic and social capital of Canada and real estate prices reflect it.
This is a potential boon to investors, but new residents may find that the cost of rent somewhat higher than they're used to.
From an urban planning standpoint, the city of Toronto is a laid out in relatively simple gridiron fashion. The core of the city, and consequently the most valuable real estate, runs north from the waterfront of Lake Ontario roughly from Spadina Avenue in the west and Jarvis Street in the east.
The downtown waterfront is characterized by new public spaces and large developments of shiny new condominiums.
Beyond the commercial core lies a ring of older residential neighbourhoods, which are themselves criss-crossed by commercial real estate that lies along the city's major arteries.
Running east-west are a series of key roads including King Street, Queen Street, College Street, Bloor Street and St. Clair Ave. Roads like Dufferin Street, Bathurst Street, Avenue Road and Yonge Street run north from downtown all the way to Highway 401.
Outside central Toronto, the region is characterizes by a series of sprawling suburban communities connected by 400-series highways, often identified as the 905 region (after its telephone area code).
Here real estate prices tend to be lower than downtown Toronto, but vary depending on the proximity to transportation links, green spaces, and the waterfront of Lake Ontario.
It may not be downtown, but potential investors would be remiss if they did not consider the strong demand for real estate in these areas, particularly with so many people choosing to live there and to commute in to the city every day.
Other Things to Consider
They say the first rule of real estate is "location, location, location," and Toronto is certainly no exception to this rule. The price to buy or rent real estate can vary significantly depending on its whereabouts in the city.
The closer one gets to downtown, the higher the prices rise. But other factors to consider include proximity to public transportation, particularly the TTC subway lines.
Since these provide quick and easy access to the rest of the city, renters will tend to pay a premium to be within walking distance to a station.
Real estate in Toronto can also vary significantly from neighbourhood to neighbourhood.
For example, areas just west of downtown like The Annex, Little Italy and Bloordale are populated by lower-density retail, modest houses and smaller apartment blocks.
A neighbourhood like Yonge and Eglinton however, is characterized by higher-density commercial and larger apartment buildings.
Toronto has seen a lot of construction over the past decade, which presents both problems and opportunities for potential investors.
Large condominium developments have sprung up all over - particularly in the lands close to the waterfront. Entirely brand-new neighbourhoods are found along Queen's Quay, in the Distillery District, and on Fort York Boulevard, located west of Spadina Avenue.
Demand right now is high for real estate in this area, but some questions linger whether demand can continue to keep up with supply.
The construction of new buildings has not been limited to the downtown core, as apartment buildings and commercial developments have also sprung up in suburbs outside of the city along the major freeways like Highway 401 and Highway 407.
Clusters are found along Sheppard Avenue just north of the 401, in the east-end near Scarborough Town Centre, and near the western terminus of the Bloor-Danforth subway line at Kipling Station.
There are a wide variety of online real estate resources that exist to help prospective tenants and investors. Some of the better sites for checking out rentals in Toronto include www.viewit.ca
They provide a wide range of search options, although they tend to feature properties owned by larger companies, especially large apartment buildings. All of the major real estate companies have websites displaying properties for sale as well.
For those looking to invest in larger scale real estate like restaurants, apartment buildings, office buildings and the like, larger commercial firms and brokerages are the best resource to use.
There is a wide range of companies in Toronto, so if you're looking to buy, your best bet is to enlist the help of a trusted real estate company with specific experience in the area you're looking into.