Author Topic: Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods  (Read 2906 times)

Jouer

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Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods
« on: May 08, 2019, 08:08:17 AM »
Hi folks, I'm moving to Toronto from a lower cost of living city and I'm wondering if there are any Toronto mustachians who could give me some help with pockets of the city that are a little less expensive than others. Perhaps they are up and coming or there is another reason others don't like them....but MMM's might be ok there.

My wife and I will both work in the financial district downtown. Ideally we'd like to walk to work (up to 45 minute walk) or bike (up to 30 minutes) but willing to hear about other neighbourhoods outside that radius if they are worth it. Since we are moving to the big city we want to have the big city experience so don't want to live in the suburbs with super long commutes....though we also aren't high-rise apartment people either.

We're looking to buy, btw.

Thanks all!

Malcat

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Re: Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2019, 08:13:14 AM »
That's a lot of conflicting demands.

I mean, it's pretty hard to pull off urban+frugal-highrise. The land is where the cost is if you aim for closer to the core, so you're going to pay an enormous premium for the privilege of living on the ground.


Jouer

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Re: Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2019, 08:18:28 AM »
That's a lot of conflicting demands.

I mean, it's pretty hard to pull off urban+frugal-highrise. The land is where the cost is if you aim for closer to the core, so you're going to pay an enormous premium for the privilege of living on the ground.

It's absolutely a lot of demands. Well, I'd call them wishes. I know we're not getting everything we want but I still wanted to outline what those wants are.

Malcat

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Re: Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2019, 08:25:40 AM »
That's a lot of conflicting demands.

I mean, it's pretty hard to pull off urban+frugal-highrise. The land is where the cost is if you aim for closer to the core, so you're going to pay an enormous premium for the privilege of living on the ground.

It's absolutely a lot of demands. Well, I'd call them wishes. I know we're not getting everything we want but I still wanted to outline what those wants are.

I think you will have to say which of your wishes is most important to you so that people can be as helpful as possible.

I don't live in Toronto, so I can't make specific suggestions, but I do have a lot of friends, family, and colleagues who have bought in Toronto, and every single one of them has had to compromise on a major want. My friend recently got central, walkable, decent neighbourhood, semi detached townhouse with a small back yard, but had to compromise on having no parking and paying 1.3M.

What is your order of priorities?

Jouer

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Re: Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2019, 08:45:22 AM »
Hi folks,

Independent of my priorities, I'd love to have some suggested neighbourhoods. I can determine if they meet my needs afterwards but for now I'd like to hear any and all suggestions.

Thanks.

Malcat

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Re: Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2019, 08:53:12 AM »
Maybe check out Little Portugal, I have some friends who just started renting there.

Jimbo

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Re: Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2019, 09:46:00 AM »
Theoretical moving to Toronto thought experiment? I wish there was an article from the blog on this topic. Oh wait:

https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2015/07/27/rent-vs-buy/

His post makes so much sense to me. Crazy commutes just to get a yard?... Why?... Anyway, I will let you decide what you want out of the Toronto life, but I will say that buying in Toronto in 2019 is not a financially sound idea.

Jimbo

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Re: Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2019, 09:47:34 AM »
The established buildings have a good track record, and new developments planned in the next 5-10 yrs will only push unit prices upwards.

Economically, can you expand on this please? You're saying more supply leads to higher price, correct?

Jouer

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Re: Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2019, 10:14:11 AM »
Theoretical moving to Toronto thought experiment? I wish there was an article from the blog on this topic. Oh wait:

https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2015/07/27/rent-vs-buy/

His post makes so much sense to me. Crazy commutes just to get a yard?... Why?... Anyway, I will let you decide what you want out of the Toronto life, but I will say that buying in Toronto in 2019 is not a financially sound idea.

Thanks for linking to this old post. I recall reading it back then. We are definitely going to run the numbers on rent vs buy. We prefer to buy for [reasons] but only if it works for us.

Jimbo

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Re: Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2019, 10:22:52 AM »
The established buildings have a good track record, and new developments planned in the next 5-10 yrs will only push unit prices upwards.

Economically, can you expand on this please? You're saying more supply leads to higher price, correct?

Yes. Which seems backwards - but then so does everything else GTA real estate related.

Let em explain, and see if you can follow the crumbs...

(snip)

You are right, the Toronto RE scene requires a suspension of disbelief in everything related to economics. "It's different out here"! We'll see how that plays out in the end, but I have made my mind on this and we could just agree to disagree. I invite you to read up on the RE trajectory and momentum from spring 2017 up to this spring. Maybe a 800k$ condo an hour away from downtown makes sense, maybe it doesn't. I know it is a gamble I am not willing to make, and I am surprised anyone on this site would be.

okits

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Re: Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2019, 11:17:41 AM »
I saw the bat-signal but don’t have expertise in what the OP is looking for.  We live “affordably” by renting an old apartment in a professionally managed high-rise building that was built pre-Nov 1, 1991 (so we have a little bit of protection through rent control.  Landlord has applied for above-guideline increases in several of the most recent years, though.) 

I think the biggest thing to “give” if the OP cares about frugality is the requirement to own.  A small, old rental house in a residential area can be a ton cheaper to rent than to buy.  If a low/mid-rise apartment building condo is a possibility, that might help with costs a little.  Maybe someone who bikes in the city has a better idea of what’s available within 30 minutes of biking from the financial district?  45 minutes of walking doesn’t give a very wide radius.

Honestly, I think if you are just moving to Toronto now, the “big city experience” is 1) high-rise, 2) renting, 3) spending a ton of money, and/or 4) suburbs and commuting hell.  IMO, the cheap-to-buy house near the downtown core is a unicorn long-ago hunted to extinction. 

plainjane

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Re: Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2019, 11:27:24 AM »
Hi folks, I'm moving to Toronto from a lower cost of living city and I'm wondering if there are any Toronto mustachians who could give me some help with pockets of the city that are a little less expensive than others. Perhaps they are up and coming or there is another reason others don't like them....but MMM's might be ok there.

My wife and I will both work in the financial district downtown. Ideally we'd like to walk to work (up to 45 minute walk) or bike (up to 30 minutes) but willing to hear about other neighbourhoods outside that radius if they are worth it.

First - I wouldn't buy. It is silly expensive right now. Second - I live in Leslieville, prices have tripled in 12 years.

If I was looking to move and wanted to be able to get to the financial district easily I'd start by exploring:
Dundas West/Landsdown subway stations (UP express takes you straight to Union, or you can save money and take the subway across and down, but you'll be with the traffic)
Parkdale (walk or bike, it is easier to bike east/west in Toronto, north is uphill)
Gerrard East (506 streetcar, decent biking)
South Etobicoke (Mimico GO station, 501 streetcar)

ElleFiji

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Re: Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods
« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2019, 12:36:49 PM »
I apologize for almost laughing.

To suggest neighbourhoods, we'd really need to know more about what you are looking for and what you are willing to put up with. Working in the financial district could mean that you are pulling in a double income of a million a year, or 50k/year.

The numbers will come out positive for renting on most calculators. But there are other reasons to own.

I hear good things about the area south of hooker Harvey's (Church south of Wellesley) and that's probably your best bet financially if you to own and walk/bike to work.

Vaughn and oakwood might be affordable if you want urbanish plus transit - think st. Clair streetcar vs new not yet open subway. Parkdale is also nicely up and coming, and could be bikeabke.

Etobicoke if you want a clean comfortable life and owning a house house - buy the rest of your col will skyrocket. You might also want to consider something walking distance to a go line. But check it's schedule. Friends in Grimsby have been waiting 10+ years for their train service. Other lines are rush hour only.

The Mmm article above was BS on the GTA rental market even when it was published. If you look at rentals expect 9/10 listings to be scammed, and 9/10 of the rest to be filled before you get a viewing. If you find a good place, ask about if the owner might sell. Tenant rights in the GTA are being eroded by demand.

Jouer

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Re: Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods
« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2019, 12:59:35 PM »
Hi folks, I'm moving to Toronto from a lower cost of living city and I'm wondering if there are any Toronto mustachians who could give me some help with pockets of the city that are a little less expensive than others. Perhaps they are up and coming or there is another reason others don't like them....but MMM's might be ok there.

My wife and I will both work in the financial district downtown. Ideally we'd like to walk to work (up to 45 minute walk) or bike (up to 30 minutes) but willing to hear about other neighbourhoods outside that radius if they are worth it.

First - I wouldn't buy. It is silly expensive right now. Second - I live in Leslieville, prices have tripled in 12 years.

If I was looking to move and wanted to be able to get to the financial district easily I'd start by exploring:
Dundas West/Landsdown subway stations (UP express takes you straight to Union, or you can save money and take the subway across and down, but you'll be with the traffic)
Parkdale (walk or bike, it is easier to bike east/west in Toronto, north is uphill)
Gerrard East (506 streetcar, decent biking)
South Etobicoke (Mimico GO station, 501 streetcar)

We've looked at some listings in the Leslieville a little. Do you like it there? Our Plan B radius on the east side is the Beaches area. Not sure yet about north or west side as we've just begun looking and haven't been on a house hunting trip yet. We're in 'gather information' mode right now.

Jouer

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Re: Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2019, 01:26:55 PM »
I apologize for almost laughing.

To suggest neighbourhoods, we'd really need to know more about what you are looking for and what you are willing to put up with. Working in the financial district could mean that you are pulling in a double income of a million a year, or 50k/year.



I left out some details of what I am looking for and my budget because I didn't want to bias anyone. I want to hear about any/all neighbourhoods in the area I mentioned. Perhaps what I think I want, I won't want once I hear recommendations from the community.

In other words, regardless of my budget I'd like to know if you know of any neighbourhoods that are under-valued relative to say the one next to it or 20 minutes walk away or whatever. Not relative to butt-fuck-nowhere, not relative to renting, relative to other similar neighbourhoods in the area. If that doesn't exist, that's cool. You can let me know without almost laughing. I don't live there and reached out to the community as part of my fact-finding mission.

 

Le Poisson

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Re: Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods
« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2019, 01:30:50 PM »
Since my posts were exurban and don't meet your needs per the above, I took them down. Glad I was able to call in some locals, and I hope you find a place that works for you.

plainjane

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Re: Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods
« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2019, 01:58:32 PM »
Hi folks, I'm moving to Toronto from a lower cost of living city and I'm wondering if there are any Toronto mustachians who could give me some help with pockets of the city that are a little less expensive than others. Perhaps they are up and coming or there is another reason others don't like them....but MMM's might be ok there.

My wife and I will both work in the financial district downtown. Ideally we'd like to walk to work (up to 45 minute walk) or bike (up to 30 minutes) but willing to hear about other neighbourhoods outside that radius if they are worth it.

First - I wouldn't buy. It is silly expensive right now. Second - I live in Leslieville, prices have tripled in 12 years.

We've looked at some listings in the Leslieville a little. Do you like it there? Our Plan B radius on the east side is the Beaches area. Not sure yet about north or west side as we've just begun looking and haven't been on a house hunting trip yet. We're in 'gather information' mode right now.

We like Leslieville. People are cool, the retail doesn't suck yet, and we can walk to anything we need. Honestly, I wouldn't do Beaches, it is too far away, and the things that made it enjoyable beyond strict access to the beach have mostly been eroded by high commercial rents. However, the north beaches, like the northern areas of Kingston Rd where you could get quick access to the subway, those might make sense from a financial purchasing non highrise. The housing stock is in better shape than Leslieville, but the rest of the amenities aren't as good, and it is longer to get to the financial district.

ElleFiji

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Re: Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods
« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2019, 05:02:10 PM »
Sorry. The laughing was about how ridiculous the housing situation is.

South of hooker Harvey's and Parkdale are both suggestions for buying, as we're all the other locations on my list. I actually don't reccomend renting if you can afford to buy in the city, which is why I pointed out some of the negatives to renting that mess with the math.

I don't know how far you bike or how open you are to transit, so the Vaughn oakwood or st clair west suggestions might be wildly in appropriate. I wouldn't be drawn to Etobicoke, but it has some draws. I mentioned the go train stuff because my area is filled with late 30 somethings working in the financial district who moved here after babies and dogs, and some hate it, some love it. It isn't butt fuck nowhere.

Some of us might have made suggestions that don't work for you because it might be wildly beyond our comprehension to imagine being able to comfortably buy a freestanding place within a 30 min walk of the financial district.

Freedomin5

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Re: Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods
« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2019, 05:19:55 PM »
Aren’t they trying to redevelop Regent Park? Are things safer there now with the more upscale condos being built? (There’s a huge stigma attached to Regent Park due to its history of being the “projects” so that might help to make prices more reasonable in that neighborhood.)

And for biking purposes, I would look at the neighborhoods either east or west of the downtown core. Biking along the lake on dedicated bike paths is a nice way to get to and from work.

If you’re not high rise people, and are okay with renting, then maybe look at basement apartments. Again the stigma attached to living in someone’s basement often means that prices are more reasonable than a concrete box in the sky, but some basement units are actually renovated quite nicely.

Jouer

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Re: Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods
« Reply #19 on: May 09, 2019, 08:54:24 AM »
Hi all, thanks for all the responses. And sorry for lashing out a little yesterday. Pretty effing stressed with everything going on but that's no excuse, of course.

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Re: Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods
« Reply #20 on: May 09, 2019, 06:37:21 PM »
I haven't read the whole thread yet, but I moved from a small town to Toronto in 2014 and had considered buying, but after seeing the crazy sticker shock for myself, I opted to just rent.

I'm sorry I don't have good or promising news for you:

For anywhere that is a 45 minutes commute to Toronto's downtown financial district you will expect to pay: 

$400,000 CAD minimum for a tiny 1-bedroom condo,
-OR-
$800,000 CAD minimum for a house that is >100 years old and literally falling apart.

After seeing a few friends buy houses in the city (including friends who bought in Leslieville and the Beaches areas that were mentioned above), each of them have had to deal things like: 
-collapsing roofs
-disintegrating foundation
-asbestos / lead pipes
-termite damage
-one friend literally fell through the floor as the wood planks gave way from being so old

Each of them have then had to deal with years of extreme renovations, basically completely gutting the inside of the house, having to go several months unable to live in their places while renos are happening, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in unexpected costs above what they had already payed. It has put huge tolls on their marriages, and they all regret buying their houses.  Having seen what they've had to go through, I am exceptionally glad that I gave up on the notion of buying real estate here.

So you can expect to have to pay at least $1 million-$1.2 million CAD for a house that is in even remotely decent condition, unless you REALLY love doing a lot of home renovations.
or $500,000 for a decently sized 1-bedroom condo.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2019, 06:46:45 PM by RioIndy »

RioIndy

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Re: Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods
« Reply #21 on: May 09, 2019, 06:43:49 PM »
....the cheap-to-buy house near the downtown core is a unicorn long-ago hunted to extinction.

I unfortunately agree with this.

okits

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Re: Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods
« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2019, 08:02:09 PM »
Hi all, thanks for all the responses. And sorry for lashing out a little yesterday. Pretty effing stressed with everything going on but that's no excuse, of course.

Sorry you are stressed (makes sense, it’s a big move). 

Try renting for a while to give yourselves time to make a well-considered choice on more permanent neighbourhood/abode.

We live midtown about 5 mins walk from the subway line.  Spouse can be door-to-door to his financial district office in 30 minutes, taking just one subway train.  It’s pretty decent by Toronto standards.

Freedomin5

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Re: Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods
« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2019, 09:49:43 PM »
Hi all, thanks for all the responses. And sorry for lashing out a little yesterday. Pretty effing stressed with everything going on but that's no excuse, of course.

Sorry you are stressed (makes sense, it’s a big move). 

Try renting for a while to give yourselves time to make a well-considered choice on more permanent neighbourhood/abode.

We live midtown about 5 mins walk from the subway line.  Spouse can be door-to-door to his financial district office in 30 minutes, taking just one subway train.  It’s pretty decent by Toronto standards.

Yes, just to provide you with a frame of reference, we have a 1-bedroom condo (600 square feet) in Downsview, right on the subway line. You can get downtown in 30-45 minutes by subway. The 1-bedrooms in the building (around 7 years old) rent for around $1800 per month. If you're in the downtown area, be prepared to pay at least $2000-$2500/month for a 1-bedroom.

If you must buy a house, Etobicoke is a gentrifying neighborhood that is about 30 minutes drive west of downtown Toronto. You can take public transit or GO train into downtown. It's a nice area with a walkable neighborhood with parks, waterfront, restaurants, grocery stores, banks (along Lakeshore). A small, very old house in need of updating is in the $800K-$900K range. A small, very old house on the wrong side of the tracks (i.e., near the maximum security prison) or in the mixed housing (the neighborhoods that mix government housing with owner-occupied housing) may be slightly cheaper.

Malcat

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Re: Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods
« Reply #24 on: May 10, 2019, 04:40:57 AM »
I apologize for almost laughing.

To suggest neighbourhoods, we'd really need to know more about what you are looking for and what you are willing to put up with. Working in the financial district could mean that you are pulling in a double income of a million a year, or 50k/year.



I left out some details of what I am looking for and my budget because I didn't want to bias anyone. I want to hear about any/all neighbourhoods in the area I mentioned. Perhaps what I think I want, I won't want once I hear recommendations from the community.

In other words, regardless of my budget I'd like to know if you know of any neighbourhoods that are under-valued relative to say the one next to it or 20 minutes walk away or whatever. Not relative to butt-fuck-nowhere, not relative to renting, relative to other similar neighbourhoods in the area. If that doesn't exist, that's cool. You can let me know without almost laughing. I don't live there and reached out to the community as part of my fact-finding mission.

I get what you are asking for, but in Toronto it literally doesn't exist, which is why you've gotten the answers that you have.

I'm sorry it's frustrating for you and I'm sorry that you are stressed, but I'm afraid that if there is a house that is on the ground and livable in central Toronto, it's 1+M, regardless of the neighbourhood.

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Re: Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods
« Reply #25 on: May 10, 2019, 05:35:23 AM »

I get what you are asking for, but in Toronto it literally doesn't exist, which is why you've gotten the answers that you have.

I'm sorry it's frustrating for you and I'm sorry that you are stressed, but I'm afraid that if there is a house that is on the ground and livable in central Toronto, it's 1+M, regardless of the neighbourhood.

There is a reason my DD and S-i-L bought way outside Toronto, and my sister's kids all rent in Toronto.  There are 2 different Canadas for housing, Toronto and Vancouver are one, and the ROC is the other.

plainjane

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Re: Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods
« Reply #26 on: May 10, 2019, 07:08:32 AM »
Leslieville - a 1 bedroom condo just sold in 2 days for 820k (was listed for 700k)

The prices you see online are not the prices people are paying. It is now possible to look at the sell prices online, make sure you're doing that to get a truer sense of what buying would actually look like. I say this as someone who would like to downsize, but can't figure out how to make the numbers work logically and still stay in the city. [eta the difference between a 3 bdrm house and a 1 bdrm condo makes no sense]

ETA: to what extent this is impacted by airbnb taking away rental stock & pushing up prices, the dropping Canadian dollar, etc, the outcome for the folks on the ground is rough.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2019, 07:14:30 AM by plainjane »

Shinplaster

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Re: Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods
« Reply #27 on: May 10, 2019, 08:33:29 AM »
Leslieville - a 1 bedroom condo just sold in 2 days for 820k (was listed for 700k)

The prices you see online are not the prices people are paying. It is now possible to look at the sell prices online, make sure you're doing that to get a truer sense of what buying would actually look like. I say this as someone who would like to downsize, but can't figure out how to make the numbers work logically and still stay in the city. [eta the difference between a 3 bdrm house and a 1 bdrm condo makes no sense]

ETA: to what extent this is impacted by airbnb taking away rental stock & pushing up prices, the dropping Canadian dollar, etc, the outcome for the folks on the ground is rough.

Yes, yes, yes!    DS and DIL are currently house hunting (long story, not ideal at the moment, landlord issues).   They looked at a place near the Danforth - listed in the high 6s, sold for high 8s.  18 bids on a falling down wreck with water dams all around the house to keep the basement from flooding.   It was a very tough introduction to home buying in Toronto. 

Current rent for them - top floor of a semi a block from the Beach - 2 bed, 1 bath, tiny kitchen, no parking - $2000/month.  When they leave, landlord has already said he will be upping the rent to at least $2500/month.   That does not include electricity, but does include crazy downstairs neighbour who also controls the thermostat for the entire house. 

Freedomin5

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Re: Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods
« Reply #28 on: May 10, 2019, 08:59:08 AM »
What I would do is to draw a 3 km radius around your work place (downtown financial district, so let’s assume it’s the Bay St. corridor), and then look for all rentals in those areas. Then I would go and look at the cheapest places for rent in that radius, throwing all of my preconceptions and “nice to haves” out the window. And then I would take the cheapest one that meets my minimum standards for safety, which may not actually be the cheapest one on the list. That’s how I found my above ground basement apartment for $825 in Vancouver a 30 minute bike ride from work. The cheapest place was only $650 but we witnessed a drug deal go down right outside the condo, so we nixed that unit. I also used that strategy when looking for housing in LA.

I would hold off on buying until I get a better feel of the various neighborhoods and a better sense of the permanence of your lives. Both of you are starting new jobs in a new city. Wait a few months to settle in before deciding whether you want to commit to purchasing a house in Toronto.

Jouer

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Re: Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods
« Reply #29 on: May 10, 2019, 12:25:26 PM »
Thanks for the awesome responses everyone.

My wife will be in Toronto on Monday for work so she is going to see two places, both two bedroom townhouse/condo types. One between Bellwood and High Park. The other close to the Junction area. I think the one in the Junction area will be too expensive but the other one is expected to be in our price range: mid 6's.

Someone mentioned listing prices not being close to actual prices: This is excellent advice! Our realtor has given us the same warning and gives us his expected selling price, not just the asking price, when providing us listings to review.

Jouer

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Re: Moving to Toronto: help with mustachian neighbourhoods
« Reply #30 on: May 10, 2019, 12:32:15 PM »
Hi all, thanks for all the responses. And sorry for lashing out a little yesterday. Pretty effing stressed with everything going on but that's no excuse, of course.

Sorry you are stressed (makes sense, it’s a big move). 

Try renting for a while to give yourselves time to make a well-considered choice on more permanent neighbourhood/abode.

We live midtown about 5 mins walk from the subway line.  Spouse can be door-to-door to his financial district office in 30 minutes, taking just one subway train.  It’s pretty decent by Toronto standards.

This is good to know. I'd be up for a 30 minute single-train commute.

(I've used google maps to map some of this out but it's great to hear from actual people living there)