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Toronto homes for sale – what can first-time buyers look out for?


Toronto is considered one of the most livable cities in the world, ranking an impressive 8th among 173 cities. With its diverse population, strong economy, and excellent quality of life, it is no wonder that a significant number of immigrants to Ontario chose the city to live in. Despite being acknowledged as Canada’s most expensive city with an ongoing housing crunch, an increasing percentage of the city’s population is interested in Toronto homes for sale.  

The city is known for its vibrant arts and culture scene, with world-class museums, galleries, and performance venues. Visitors and residents enjoy the Royal Ontario Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the CN Tower and the Toronto Islands. Various festivals are hosted throughout the year, such as the Toronto International Film Festival, the Toronto Caribbean Carnival, and the Canadian National Exhibition.

The metropolis is the financial capital of Canada and offers various job opportunities in multiple sectors, such as finance, technology, and healthcare. The city is known for its safety, cleanliness and low crime rates.

In addition to its economic and cultural offerings, Toronto’s public transportation system makes it easy to get around. The city has an enviable network of buses, streetcars,  subways and a growing network of bike lanes. The city also has a well-developed network of expressways and highways, offering easy access.

Overall, Toronto is a great place to live, work, and raise a family.

Is Home Ownership Right for You?

By investing in real estate, you can generate income and build equity. The Canadian real estate market has been growing in recent years due to low interest-rates and strong demand. However, as a first-time home buyer, it is essential to conduct proper research and due diligence before making significant decisions.

Owning a property comes with expenses for maintenance, repairs and property taxes, which can add up over time. Additional costs associated with purchasing a property, such as the down payment, mortgage payments, land transfer tax, legal fees, closing costs, home inspection, appraisal and insurance, have to be factored in too. Do your due diligence to ensure that the house is a good investment and you are financially ready to be a first-time home buyer.

But if you need more for the minimum down payment or you are likely to move houses often, the home-buying process may be complicated.

Consult an Expert

It is important to approach the home-buying process thoughtfully. A real estate agent, mortgage broker, or real estate lawyer – seek advice from experts when needed, as they will work towards your best interests. When you consult a professional with experience working with first-time homebuyers, they guide you through the entire process, set realistic goals and help you find the perfect first home.

In Canada, the federal and provincial/territorial governments have incentive plans for first-time home buyers. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CHMC) offers details about the First time Home Buyer Incentive, Home Buyers Amount, Home Buyers Plan, Canada Greener Homes and the GST/HST New Housing Rebates – some popular programs for home buyers.

It is possible to make buying a house easy and enjoyable by being well-prepared and informed.

Things to Look Out For

Here are some additional tips for first-time homebuyers looking at homes for sale in Toronto:

  1. Get pre-qualified: Before starting your search, get a pre-approval mortgage. This will give you a better idea of your budget and what you can afford. You can also choose between a conventional mortgage or a high-ratio mortgage – however, the final mortgage approval is reserved until the property is qualified.
  1. Create a wish list: Make a list of your must-haves and nice-to-haves for your dream home. This will help narrow your search and focus on properties that meet your needs. Browse through listings of Toronto homes for sale.
  1. Research the market: Keep an eye on the housing market trends to understand the current house prices and availability. Consider all types of properties, including condos, townhouses, and single-family homes, to get a sense of what is available.
  1. Be flexible: Be prepared to compromise – be open to properties that may need work, as they can be an excellent opportunity to build equity.
  1. Don’t rush: Buying a house is a big decision, so take your time and don’t rush into anything. Make sure you’re comfortable with your decision before making an offer.

Housing in Toronto

Toronto is one of the most expensive Canadian cities for a home purchase, so be realistic about what you can afford before house hunting.

The graph below shows the MLS Average prices over three years, monthly.

The City of Toronto saw its average price decrease to $1,017,989 in December 2022. As per CREA Statistics, by the last quarter of 2022, the median sale price for single detached homes decreased by 12.7% on a year-over-year basis to $1,205,000, while semi-detached units fell by 10.5% to $985,000. However, condo apartment units were little changed, down only 0.5% on a year-over-year basis to $635,000 in the fourth quarter of 2022.

In Summary

Purchasing a first home in Toronto can be challenging due to the high property prices, large down payments required, and Ontario’s more significant land transfer tax. Bidding wars are common in the Toronto housing market, where multiple buyers compete for the same property. Despite the city’s high cost of real estate, small homes or condos can be a more affordable option for first-time buyers.

In conclusion, buying a home is a significant decision that requires you to approach the process thoughtfully, considering your circumstances, financial situation, and market conditions. By seeking advice from experts and considering all factors, you can ensure that you are making the best possible decision.

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