While Canadians are notorious for their ability to complain about the weather, Torontonians are notorious (at least in the last ten years) for their ability to complain about the real estate market. And they’re justified! Detached homes in the city of Toronto now command a price of $1,062,842,927, condos now sell at a shocking $1,291 per square foot (psf) (nearly double what is paid in the outskirts of the GTA) and rents keep eating up more and more of our disposable income.  

 

The desire to live in Toronto, despite what real estate pundits might claim, isn’t fueled by significant foreign investment or hysteria.1 Rather, it just makes sense for both investors and end-users to want to buy in Toronto, especially with the abundance of cheap credit – the real risk in Toronto’s housing market. Apart from cheap credit, Toronto “makes sense” as developers and various levels of government are working together to expand Toronto’s green space and improve the city’s waterfront. Toronto also has growing tech and service industry providing high-income jobs to thousands. Let’s not forget Toronto’s high level of tourism and the fact that Toronto is famous because famous Torontonians (i.e. Drake) keep shining a spotlight on the T-dot. Toronto’s sports teams are finally winning and Toronto has an exploding festival, artfood and cocktail scene attracting millions annually. Yet, despite these positive attributes, we are constantly bombarded with news suggesting otherwise: Toronto’s transit system is in dire straits, the traffic is impossible, the roads are ridden with potholes, crime seems to be everywhere and the school system and our garbage and essential services are overtaxed. To be sure, these issues need to be addressed in order to maintain Toronto has a preeminent place to work. However, when one looks to any of our global neighbours, it’s clear to see Toronto stacks up quite well

 

Who does it better?   

 

Education 

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is the largest school board in Canada that has nearly 600 schools, of which 471 are elementary schools, 111 are secondary schools. The TDSB serves 246,000 students and provides educational services for140,000 life-long learners via the TDSCB’s Adult and Continuing Education program.2 Toronto is also home to four universities and four collegesTo boot – Toronto teachers are amongst the highest paid in Canada. Compare this with Chicago – one of the best places to get an education in the US – where there are 660 schools supporting 396,000 students 

 

Crime 

A common question, when deciding where to live has to do with crime rates. Although we’ve seen a lot of gun violence in 2018 and 2019, the citys crime rates are still low compared to cities of similar size in North America. For example, the Toronto homicide rate is at 2.57 per 100,000 people, which is well below the 3.4 homicide rate in New York City. In fact, in Toronto was ranked sixth in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s?2019 Safe Cities Index, making Toronto the safest city in North America. 

 

Transportation 

Getting around Toronto is easy if you compare it to Baghdad, Atlanta, Miami, Boston and Mumbai (which ranks as the most likely place you might actually die in traffic). In fact, while the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) doesn’t come without its fair share of problems and isn’t nearly as intricate as Paris, Hong Kong and Berlin’s systems, it certainly is effective in getting people around the city and does reach some of the city’s most important work hubs. LA’s transit system, in comparison, is used by comparatively fewer people because the system doesn’t  to the places where most people live or work. 

 

Climate 

Yes. We are in Canada and, therefore, our winters are tough. However, unlike many of the states south of the border, we do not suffer from massive hurricanes, extensive floods, earthquakes and tornadoes. In fact, when we are inundated with snow Toronto has proven to be better equipped to handle snow, ice and dropping temperatures than our neighbours in New York City. 

 

It’s clear, Toronto is an incredible city and the stats prove it. What isn’t clear if the market will continue to rise as steadily as it has in the past or if Toronto is completely immune from any economic shockwaves in the economy.  While leading bank economists in Canada claim that the real estate bubble is over, one can never be too sure. What one can be sure about, however, is that almost 50,000 people each year decide that they want to leave their home town to move to Toronto, and it’s for good reason.

 

Written by Natalka Falcomer, VP Corporate Development

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