Despite the sky-high residential property prices in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), the Ontario region remains one of the most desirable places to live. This is why nearly a fifth of Canada’s population lives in the GTA, whether for employment opportunities or the post-secondary education system. Newcomers typically choose the GTA and the Greater Vancouver Area (GTA) to plant new roots.
At the same time, the GTA has many cities, towns, and communities to select from, making it a challenge to decide where to purchase a home. One neighbourhood may have an abundance of choices regarding schools, while another city might have a plethora of entertainment options (sports, museums, art galleries, concerts, and other events).
So, how do you decide which region to call “home?”
We have compiled a guide to help you determine where you want to live and how to pick the right place:
GTA Real Estate Market: How to Decide Your Region to Call Home
Here are six ways to decide what region you want to call home:
#1 Make a List of Desirable Places
Do you enjoy the glitz and glamour of major urban centres like Toronto? Or do you want the tranquillity of living in a place like Clarington? Or do you want a little bit of both? Whatever the case may be, it is better to do your research on the vast array of communities in the GTA and compile a list of the top ten most desirable places to live.
#2 Outline What Matters Most to You
If you are a single person, your priorities may differ from a family of four – and vice versa. Put simply; it is important to outline what matters most to you in the region you are relocating to in the coming months. It could be a combination of schools, public transportation, and parks. Or it might be entertainment venues, restaurants, and prices. Ultimately, produce a list and go from there.
#3 Maintain Some Realism
Ultimately, it is imperative to maintain a semblance of realism in your home-buying exploration. Sure, we all dream about a three-bedroom house with a library and a white picket fence, but if it is out of your budget (see point No. 6) or the property is not situated in a neighbourhood that suits your lifestyle, you may need to tighten your search. In today’s Canadian real estate market, being realistic could be a better option than thinking you can have it all.
#4 Get a Home Inspection
During the home-buying frenzy of the 2020-2021 housing boom, many Canadians were so desperate to outbid their competitors and purchase a home that they were willing to forego home inspections. Considering that acquiring a home is the most important and largest investment you will make in your lifetime, this was something that many industry experts recommended against doing.
Suffice it to say, now that many locations, including in the Ontario real estate market, have stabilized and have become more balanced. In some cases, many have shifted toward a buyer’s market! – you can proceed cautiously and ensure that the detached house or townhome is in good condition.
#5 Stay Updated on the Housing Market
Did you know that real estate prices in Canada fell 12.6 percent year-over-year in January, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA)?
The RE/MAX 2023 Canadian Real Estate Outlook report discovered that 50 per cent of Canadians are aware of home price forecasts. A little more than half (51 per cent) also say that varying projections make them more confused or concerned about Canada’s housing sector.
Despite the worries, it is terrific that more Canadians are aware of real estate market conditions and statistics. And this is critical in the home buying process as you know what you will expect to see during your search.
“Canadians are understandably hesitant to engage in the market early in 2023. Despite this, more Canadians see real estate as a solid long-term investment when compared to this time last year,” said Christopher Alexander, the president of RE/MAX Canada, in a report.
#6 Stick to Your Budget
Finally, stick to your budget. During the pandemic-era housing boom, homebuyers had more access to credit. Their purchasing power was greater because they could borrow more than they may have initially applied for in 2020 or 2021.
Real estate conditions have significantly changed in the last year thanks to higher interest rates, tightening lending standards, and consternation surrounding the broader Canadian economy.
Therefore, it is paramount to stay within your budget. If you find a home that is substantially out of your price range, consult with your real estate agent and find another property that works with your budget.