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My First Home: Where to Buy Now in Toronto

My First Home: Where to Buy Now in Toronto

Author: Tracy Ruddell

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Buying your first home can be a stressful experience. First-time homebuyers worry about making a bad investment decision, finding a safe and well-appointed neighbourhood on a smaller budget and how to navigate frustrating bidding wars. Whether you’re completely new to Toronto Real Estate, buying your first house or moving up from a starter Toronto condo or loft, a great place to begin your research is by narrowing down your neighbourhood choices.

Here are our top neighbourhood recommendations for first-time buyers looking at houses for sale in Toronto with an eye towards growing their investment.

My First Home: Top Toronto Neighbourhoods for First-Time Buyers

Danforth Village

Located south of the Danforth between Greenwood and Victoria Park, Toronto’s Danforth Village (what we call Main & Danforth in our neighbourhood guides for geographic clarity) is a great neighborhood for young professionals looking to purchase their first home because it's on a serious upward climb. While homes here are in high-demand they are, for the most part, still much more reasonably-priced than their swanky neighbours.

Many Danforth Village houses are still affordable (comparatively speaking) with plenty of starter bungalows and semi-detached houses; even detached Danforth Village homes are good value. There are of course a smattering of custom-built homes and swank renovations pushing prices up, particularly around popular Monarch Park. We've seen homes right by Main & Danforth (not the most desirable pocket of this neighbourhood) selling well into the seven figures; now is the time to buy in this growing 'hood before flippers drive prices too high.

The area’s close proximity to the subway, Danforth shopping and parks, the high-levels of renovation investment and its stock of good-sized, solid, original-condition homes (which keep contractors coming back for more) are all sure-fire signs that we're likely to see Danforth Village homes continue to soar in value, especially as more buyers are pushed out of pricier east-end neighbourhoods like Riverdale, Playter Estates and The Beach.

 

The Junction Triangle

One of our top picks for growing your Toronto Real Estate investment is the Junction Triangle. We’ve seen a wealth of Toronto townhomes and lofts sprout up here over the last five years, drawing young professional singles and couples to the area. The trend is catching on with the local housing market; a gentrification we’ve already seen happen in The Junction to its north.

Investors are seeing the future pot of gold this neighbourhood presents–plans are underway to create the next Liberty Village or Distillery District here. The Torontoist revealed the roadblocks that developer Castlepoint was facing a few years ago; issues with the opposition Nestlé now seem to be smoothed over. Metrolinx is also adding a stop at Bloor and Dundas on its Union Pearson express line.

In response to developer investment, flippers and end-users alike are following suit, snapping up original condition Junction Triangle homes and renovating for slick, modern interiors. Many of these homes are liveable as is for buyers on tight budgets, however.

If you can afford to do it, a great strategy is to buy now and move into your Junction Triangle home but hold onto it as a rental property when you’re ready to take the next step in your Real Estate journey. Allow the area to gentrify even further (while making great rental returns in the interim) and you'll almost certainly see your property value soar.

You can read about our top condo picks in the Junction Triangle on our sister-site Condos.ca.

 

Little India

Little India is a diverse and vibrant Toronto east end neighbourhood that spans only half a dozen blocks but it makes up in personality what it lacks in size.

We see this area as the next hot east-side pocket. The Pocket just east of Blake-Jones took off like Real Estate wildfire about five years ago because it was literally a pocket in the middle of everything (shopping, transit, high-priced neighbouring streets). A lot of the same features and early indicators we saw in The Pocket's growth are there for Little India as well.

There’s been a surge in housing prices here over the last few years on popular streets like Ashdale, Rhodes and Hiawatha. It’s a flippers’ paradise right now. That said, there are still deals to be found with Little India houses if you get in soon but note that houses here do tend to require additional budget for a renovation (along with the time and patience to manage one).

If a little sweat equity or contractor management doesn’t scare you away, Little India homes can be an excellent investment helping to propel you upwards to the next step on the property ladder within a few years’ time.

For more first-time buyer advice, have a read of our recent post on how to buy in a hot market.

 

Lead image: Little India street festival by Ian Muttoo CC 2.0 from flickr.