Just how pricey have some of Toronto’s most sought-after neighbourhoods become over the last 16 years? We found out.
This week’s cover story of The Grid is all about real estate, and where to look to live in Toronto when you’re priced out of the area you like. If you can’t afford The Beach, try New Toronto, suggest writers Edward Keenan and Katie Underwood; if you’re priced out of Leaside, try Todmorden Village; if The Kingsway’s too costly, try West Hill; if Moore Park can’t happen, try Cliffside; and if the Junction won’t do, try Weston Village.
But just how out-of-reach has buying a detached house in one of Toronto’s most sought-after areas become? This out-of-reach:
There’s been a 262 per cent increase in the average price of detached houses in the Leaside area, a 210 per cent increase in the Kingsway area, a 168 per cent increase in the Junction area, a 152 per cent increase in the Beach area and a 143 per cent increase in the Moore Park area.* (If housing prices had only increased with inflation after 1996, the average price for a detached house in the Leaside area would have been $430,894 in 2011, rather than what it actually was: $1,165,197.)
Why May, and why 1996? May is a “representative month” for any given year because so many sales are happening, says Jason Mercer, the senior manager of market analysis at the Toronto Real Estate Board (or TREB), which keeps track of this kind of data. And 1996 is the earliest year you can take the big pile of housing data they’ve got and break it down by both district (where a property is located within the Greater Toronto Area) and category (what kind of property it is, whether detached house, semi-detached house, condo apartment, row house and so on, though there haven’t been enough sales of any other kinds of housing than detached and semi-detached houses to chart them accurately, so we haven’t). You want to compare “apples to apples,” as Mercer put it; going further back, you couldn’t with this level of detail.
The districts, it’s also worth mentioning, are larger than the specific neighbourhoods that are contained within them: C9, the area that Moore Park is in, also includes Rosedale. W2, the area that the Junction is in, also includes some of what we’d think of as Bloor West Village, High Park and Bloorcourt. C11, the area that Leaside is in, also includes Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park. W8, the area that The Kingsway is in, includes West Mall. (E2, which the Beach is in, doesn’t contain that much more than what we’d call the Beach.) We’re calling W2 the “Junction area” because it doesn’t only include the Junction.
So detached houses are all but out of reach. But a chart of the prices of semi-detached houses is no less bleak:
The prices might be smaller, with one exception, but they haven’t grown any slower than they did for detached houses: they’ve gone up 227 per cent in the Moore Park area, and in the Junction area, they’ve gone up 188 per cent.* Had Toronto house prices only risen with inflation since 1996, the average price of a semi-detached house in the Junction area would have been $234,020 in 2011, rather than more than twice that, at $503,536. There’s one anomaly with the semi-detached prices, and that’s Moore Park, where for seven of the last 16 Mays the average sale price of semi-detached houses has been higher than that of detached houses (though now’s probably a good time to remind you that the TREB district Moore Park is in also includes Rosedale).
Toronto: this is your housing boom. But hey, Cliffside’s nice, right?
Data from the Toronto Real Estate Board; you can explore it on your own in their monthly “Market Watch” reports here. Graphs by Nicola Hamilton/The Grid.
CORRECTION, MAY 17, 2012: As a reader has just pointed out, we may need to re-do Grade 5 math, since we incorrectly calculated the per cent increase of every area’s housing prices. While the average price of a detached house in the Leaside area went up 3.62 times between May 1996 and May 2011 (from $321,890 to $1,165,197), that’s a 262% increase, not a 362% one, as we originally reported—a mistake we repeated throughout this article. Neither the data nor the graphs we used to represent it were inaccurate; it was the calculations accompanying them that were. The Grid regrets the error.