Depending on where you choose to live, there is a wide range of accommodation types available in Toronto. From simple houses to high-rise condominiums, there is something for every lifestyle.
An apartment is a self-contained living area that is located within a larger building. Apartments may be located in a low-rise or walk-up apartment building (5 floors or less, usually without an elevator), or a high-rise building (6 floors or more with an elevator). A landlord owns the apartment and rents it to tenants.
Of all the types of housing in Toronto, Apartments are the most abundant and easiest to obtain. Found in all major areas of the city, one can expect to pay between $800 to $1400 for a one-bedroom apartment, between $1000 to $1800 for a 2 bedroom, and between $1200 to up to $3600 for apartments with 3 or more rooms. In addition to bedrooms, each apartment should contain a living space, a bathroom, and a kitchen area.
In most cases you will be required to pay both the first and the last months of your rent up front. This ensures that you will be giving your landlord at least 1 month’s notice before vacating the apartment. You may also be required to sign a lease or rental agreement with your landlord, which will outline the rules that you will be expected to follow while living there (whether or not you can smoke in the apartment, whether or not pets are allowed, etc), and the length of time that you will be living there. If you wish to move out of a leased apartment before the agreed upon time, you will probably be required to find a tenant to sublet your apartment for the remainder of your lease.
The benefits of apartment living are plentiful. Apartments are relatively easy to obtain and, once you’re moved in, fairly straight-forward to maintain. Most issues like maintenance and renovations are handled by your landlord, so it’s important to keep an open line of communication so he/she stays up to date on your apartment’s needs.
The drawback of apartments is that the rent you pay does not go towards ownership of your home. If you would like to put your money towards acquiring property, you would do well to consider a condominium or house instead of an apartment.
A condominium is a large building made up of multiple units that are much like apartments. Unlike apartments, condos are owned by the occupants themselves. The owners are a part of a corporation that elects a board of directors who manage the building and the land. New buyers often have to be approved by the board before purchasing. Owners are responsible for their own mortgage, taxes, utilities and a monthly fee for the maintenance of the building. In Toronto it’s possible to purchase a small condo for as little as $200,0000. The bigger, more luxurious, and more central you go, the more you’re going to have to pay. Some luxury condos in the downtown core cost as much as $2 million.
The great advantage to choosing a condominium is that you will be purchasing property. There are a wide variety of condos available throughout Toronto of all shapes and sizes, with more being built every year. It’s a very common practice to purchase a condo before the building is built, then live in an apartment until your new home is ready.
There are few drawbacks to condo-living, and it’s important to know that, in addition to the purchase of a condo, you will also be responsible for paying condo fees every month. These fees range from $800 to $1500 per month, and cover such amenities as building maintenance, parking, snow removal, and any extra facilities like gyms, swimming pools, party rooms and courtesy quarters for guests. Other things you might consider, when it comes to condo-ownership, is that you will pretty much have the same level of privacy as you would in an apartment building (meaning you probably shouldn’t throw too many loud parties!). Condo owners are also subject to certain rules regarding pet ownership or how they can renovate/decorate their dwelling space, among others. Most condominiums in Toronto have a board that is elected by the owners within the building. This board must be consulted whenever there is a potential buyer, so selling your condo can be a complicated process.
A duplex is a house that has been split into two apartments, one above the other. Each apartment has its own living space, sometimes with a separate entrance for each one. Some owners of duplexes live in one of the apartments while renting the other, while others rent out both apartments. A three-story house split into three apartments is known as a triplex.
The advantage to duplex-living is that many of these homes are in quiet residential neighborhoods. Your landlord usually lives just a few steps away, and you usually have access to the backyard or garden of the house your apartment is in. If you are a home-owner, you can convert your house into a duplex and earn rent income that can offset your mortgage payments.
The only real disadvantage to this type of apartment is that you may be subject to eviction if the homeowner chooses to renovate or wants the apartment for friends or family members. If this happens, it’s important to know that you must be given at least one-month’s notice before eviction can occur. Make sure you discuss this with your landlord prior to moving into the property.
Detached houses are complete homes separated from other houses. They vary in size from tiny bungalows to multi-storied mansions. Owners may choose to rent out some of the rooms, the basement or even the entire house.
Detached houses are in extremely high demand in all areas of Toronto, making them difficult to find and quite expensive. The average cost for a 2 bedroom home in Toronto is about $350,000. The closer you are to amenities like transit or major road routes, the more expensive the house is going to be. In many areas, like the Annex, it’s not uncommon for even the smallest house to go for close to $1 million.
The advantages of home ownership speak for themselves. Bear in mind, however, you will be subject to property taxes in the city of Toronto, which go towards things like road repair, parks & recreation, and any schools or hospitals that are in your area.
A semi-detached house consists of a large house split down the middle by a partitioning wall. Each half of the house is separately owned and maintained. While semi-detached houses are fully-owned by their occupants, the owners should communicate with those who live in the other half, to prevent disagreements as to maintenance and overall management of the frontage.
Townhouses are designed so that a long row of three or more houses are connected by dividing walls. Many town houses are narrow with multiple stories to offer extra living spaces. The quality of townhouses varies widely from highly desirable living spaces to low-rent, assisted-living housing. Each townhouse is separately owned, as is the land around that living space. Many townhouses are available as rentals, sometimes owned as a whole by a corporation, other times individually owned. Most townhouses sell at around the $200,000 range, or rent at the $1500 to $2000 range. There are very few 1 bedroom townhouses in the city of Toronto
The advantage to living in a townhouse is they are often their own communities, where you can get to know your neighbors and share common interests. In Toronto many townhouses are located on their own streets. While the idea of living in an identical living space to 50 of your neighbors doesn’t appeal to everyone, many Torontonians quite enjoy the experience of being part of a community.